As the most mysterious and generous gifts of nature, truffles, these elusive mushrooms, have been enhancing the cuisine of the ancient civilizations with their incredibly aromatic quality for more than twenty centuries.
Also known as an aphrodisiac, Madame Pompadour was a great fan. The truffle is indeed a mushroom, a very rare, luxurious and tremendously expensive kind.
Just a few truffle shavings can transform a simple scrambled egg dish to a gastronomical feast. Since the truffle season happens at the end of the year, they also make a perfect ingredient in a delectable festive meal.
Truffles come in two colours; black and white. The best black truffles, also known as “Black Diamonds” come from the Perigord region in the south of France. Black truffles tend to be less pungent and cooking them imparts more flavour.
They work well with pasta, egg and potato dishes. Roasted meats love black truffles too, especially roasted chicken with truffle shavings stuffed under the skin prior to roasting.
To complete this great meal choose a bottle of great old red Burgundy. Elegant and earthy, it perfectly matches truffles’ musky, rustic earthy tones with aromas and flavours of forest floor and mushrooms.
White truffles are even more highly esteemed than black. The best ones are found in the countryside around Alba and Asti in Piedmont region of northern Italy, where they are also known as “Alba Madonna”.
With pale cream flesh and white marbling throughout, they have a more intense and unique flavour. For that reason they are usually shaved raw over food.
White truffles are a fantastic match to rich and earthy Piedmontese risotto dishes. And by the old adage; “what grows together, goes together”, the white truffles of Piedmont are the ideal match for the noble old Barolos and Barbarescos.
Long-lived tannic reds, both vinified with the mighty Nebbiolo, a signature grape of the region, combine very well with the complex, earthy and garlicky taste of white truffles.
Medium bodied and complex, this elegant Pinot Noir was vinified with the fruit sourced from the 35 years old vines. Layers of red cherries, raspberries and plums mingle with the floral notes of violets and a whiff of pepper. Well balanced, with smooth, velvety tannins and a long smoky finish. Pair with slowly roasting meats. Roasted chicken with black truffles is a perfect pairing. VINTAGES# 408161, $ 29.75
Four generation of the Brezza family have been crafting the noble wines with the fruit from their Barolo vineyards since 1885, when Giacomo and his father Antonio bottled their first estate wine in 1910. Lighter in structure and body, it’s a perfect introduction to Piedmontese Nebbiolo giants. Abundance of floral notes on the nose, followed by raspberries, redcurrant, cherries and plums on the palate. Well integrated tannins and a long, lingering finish. Great match for meat roasts, mature cheeses and an exceptional pairing with white truffles. Great aging potential, 15-20 years. VINTAGES# 711788, $ 46.95
Marcarini Barolo “Brunate” D.O.C.G. 2009
This stunning Barolo hails from the hills on Piedmont; it’s made with 100% Nebbiolo grape. It delivers intense aromas of forest fruit, sage leaves, licorice and sweet spice with a hint of vanilla and tobacco on a long, persistent velvety finish. Originally part of the Savoy Kingdom, Piedmontese cuisine is rich and earthy. Elevate your sipping experience to another level and pair this lovely red with a rich game dish or a wild mushroom risotto with truffles. VINTAGES# 167494, $70.00
Prunotto Barbaresco 2012
Vinified with 100% Nebbiolo grapes in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, this elegant and intense red comes with generous aromas and flavours of raspberries, ripe red cherries and plums. Full bodied and extra dry, great balance with well integrated, velvety tannins. Fantastic with rich and earthy Piedmontese dishes such as roasted game and wild mushroom and truffle risotto. VINTAGES# 329938, $ 47.95
As a child, Tania helped her parents pick grapes in her family’s Croatian vineyards, and then later with winemaking. As an adult , she lived abroad in London, England, Milan and Venice, Italy, and explored the food and wine cultures while traveling throughout Europe.
While living in Toronto, Tania completed studies with the International Sommelier Guild (ISG). She continued her wine education with the prestigious, internationally-recognized Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET), based in London, England. In 2007, she achieved the WSET Level 3, Advanced Certificate in Wine and Spirits.
In 2013, Tania was awarded with a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) designation by The Society of Wine Educators, based in Washington, DC. She is currently studying for the organization’s Certified Wine Educator designation.
Tania also offers sommelier services and tutored wine tastings, consulting and wine tastings via RunawayGrape.com and is a regular columnist with NatalieMacLean.com.