2013 Truffle Festival Weekend Review In Pictures

January 21, 2013 /

The Festival came to a close this afternoon, after three full days of full-blown #trufflefest up and down the Napa Valley.  Here are just a few of the highlights of this memorable weekend dedicated to Tuber melanosporum and the people who love it.
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SATURDAY:
Lunch at Silver Oak, Seminars on the Science and Business of Truffle Cultivation, Visit To A Truffle Orchard, and the Truffles & Wine Dinner by Michelin-starred chefs.

Life is good in the Napa Valley. Life is better at Silver Oak.

Silver Oak’s Chef Dominic Orsini and his crew preparing our welcome snack. They made this dough from a starter Chef Orsini created years ago from Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

Our first truffles of the day! Sheep’s milk ricotta flatbreads topped with chopped black truffle

ATC’s Dr. Paul Thomas and keynote speaker Colman Andrews talk truffles at lunch

First lunch course at Silver Oak: Chicory salad with local trinity of foraged mushrooms, quail egg croquette, and crispy potatoes topped with Truffle Tremor cheese

Why limit yourself to one truffle cheese when you can have three?

Truffle hounds on the hunt in Robert Sinskey Vineyards’ young Carneros truffle orchard

Rico the Truffle Dog, who found a truffle before our very eyes! (It was planted there, though, since the orchard needs another few years before it will begin producing)

Dr. Paul Thomas explains the diversity of climates in which truffles can be cultivated… Tuber borchii, a type of white truffle, can grow in nearly pure sand!

Behind the line at La Toque as dinner draws nigh… (Photograph by Faith Echtermeyer)

Ken Frank’s truffled Loch Duart salmon slow-cooked in duck fat, with braised cabbage and hedghog mushroom timbale. (Photograph by Faith Echtermeyer)

Michael Tusk’s decadent fagotelli pasta stuffed with Four Story Hill Farm sweetbreads and black truffles. (Photograph by Faith Echtermeyer)

Chefs Deborah Yee-Henen and Nicole Plue worked together to create this truffled mascarpone crepe cake, with sherry brown butter sauce and hazelnuts. And gold leaf, because it had been a long day.

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SUNDAY:
Mushroom Forage, Cooking Demo by Nico Chessa, and Lunch at Beringer Vineyards

The morning started out a little cold at 8am, when the mushroom hunters gathered for their trek up Howell Mountain. That’s ice on the window.

David Campbell, the master mycologist, guided us through the colorful creatures we found in the woods.

Mushroom expert Stephanie Jarvis of Napa Valley Fungi assesses our prey.

This ‘shroom was larger than many dogs I’ve seen. We ID’d it as Phaeolus schweinitzil… with help from our two resident experts, of course.

Though many people thought the dry weather would mean poor mushroom hunting, we actually had quite a haul. Not as tasty as chanterelles, but just as pretty.

Beringer’s historic Hudson House made history once again with the NTF Italian-inspired lunch prepared by Nico Chessa and Beringer Chef Maurine Sarjeant.

When Chef Nico Chessa demonstrated how to make this chick pea crespella before lunch, a collective moan went up from the crowd. That’s truffle-infused ricotta oozing out from under.

This polenta dish with homemade sausage, poached egg, and shaved black truffles also went straight into the pantheon of unforgettable truffle dishes. Nico, we love you. And your grandma whose sausage polenta inspired this luxury edition.

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MONDAY:
Truffle Marketplace at the Oxbow Market.

The Oxbow Public Market hosted us again this year, with over 20 wineries pouring tastes. Wine tasting ticket sales benefited the Napa Valley Food Bank.

Chef Todd Humphries of Kitchen Door drew the crowds for his truffle cooking talk and demo. He also revealed that his favorite tool for slicing truffles is his mandoline.

The Oxbow merchants embraced the truffle fever, and came up with some creative offerings.

The Model Bakery put together an unbelievable savory mushroom bread pudding, using their pain de mie. Cremini, porcini, and oyster mushrooms, sauteed leeks, goat cheese, parmesan and thyme, with black truffles over the top. This outrageously delicious cupful was only $2.50.

The Oxbow Cheese Merchants managed to improve upon perfection by adding black truffles to Mt. Tam cheese from Cowgirl Creamery.

Kitchen Door put together a gorgeous pappardelle dish with wild yellowfoot mushrooms, poached egg, frothy parmesan cream, and shavings of black truffle all over.

Chef Dario De Conti of Ca’Momi Enoteca demonstrated his technique for turning out this lovely truffle pizza with mushrooms.

Raffle winners, and would-be raffle winners crowded close around Robert Chang as he drew the lucky names.

The reason we were all there. The one, the only PERIGORD BLACK.