Sunday, January 13, 2013

Truffles in Napa Valley, anyone? by Philip S. Kampe

Truffles in Napa Valley, Anyone?  by  Philip S. Kampe

I know it's crazy to write about going to Napa Valley for a truffle festival, but, I must.
Alexander Dumas once said “The truffles themselves have been interrogated, and have answered simply: Eat us and Praise the Lord”.
I believe Alexander Dumas was onto something.
Nature’s bounty begins with truffles.
Truffles are defined as ‘Any of various fleshy , ascomycetous, edible fungi, chiefly the genus Tuber, that grow underground on or near the roots of trees and are valued as a delicacy’.
The Tuberaceae enjoys an esteemed reputation.
There are several species of truffles.
The Black Perigord truffle is one of the most sought after. Its near-black flesh marbled with white veins is overly aromatic.
Equally as important is the white truffle, also known as the Piedmont truffle, from the Italian village of Alba. Its white or ochre-colored flesh veined with white tones has a garlicky and cheesy flavor. It is the largest of the edible truffles.
Napa Valley is known for wine and great restaurants. And now, for the third year, Napa hosts the now, annual ‘Napa Truffle Festival’.
This year the festival takes place on January 18th to 21st.
This will be my first experience attending a truffle festival that is based in America.
My friend and ‘Wine Chick Journalist’, Liza Zimmerman, a New Yorker transplanted to San Francisco entertained the idea about coming to San Francisco for the festival. She said, ‘Phil, I know you love truffles. (We were in Pays D’Oc together in October) Why not come to Napa and enjoy the truffle festival of a lifetime?’. |
I guess those magic words of ‘A truffle festival of a lifetime’ resonated.
So, I agreed
And off I will go to attend the ‘Truffle Festival of a Lifetime’.
This upcoming weekend  is the 3rd Annual Napa Truffle Festival that highlights the venerated black truffle, which I mentioned earlier, the most sought after Perigord truffle.
The festival brings together experts, scientists and special guests from the wine and food world to discuss, taste, examine and probe truffles.
The American Truffle Company is sponsoring the event.
The event brings together two complimentary aspects  truffles: the best chefs in the world known for their truffle cuisine and the best scientists in the world known for their truffle expertise and data on cultivation.
The Westin Verasa Napa will host the festival.
The schedule starts on Friday, the 18th, with a ‘Welcome Reception and Truffle and Wine sampling’ at the Westin.
Saturday and Sunday are the days to attend the festival.
Highlights include seminars on truffle cultivation with Dr. Paul Thomas, a Silver Oak winery luncheon that features truffles with Silver Oak wines, a truffle dog demonstration at Robert Sinskey Vineyards Truffle Orchard, the economics of truffle cultivation with Robert Chang, an extraordinary Michelin starred wine and truffle dinner at La Toque (Westin Verasa Napa) , a wild mushroom forage, a truffle cooking demonstration with Michelin chef Nico Chessa, a truffle marketplace and Beringer winery tour, tasting and truffle lunch.
Truffles,Wine and Gourmet Food.
What a great way to spend a weekend in Napa.
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