For a true foodie that enjoys savouring the most sophisticated products available on the market, the month November is definitely something they desperately look forward to every year. And the reason is quite simple: it’s white truffle season everyone!
With that in mind, coming up with an excuse that enabled me to combine work and leisure was probably the easiest thing I had done in the last couple months. So I decided to head to my home country to visit a place where white truffle is king. Most of my clients, at this time of the year tend to always ask me to book them a wonderful and exclusive experience in Alba or Piemonte. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love this region. Gentle hills home to incredible produce such as white truffle, Barolo wine, cheese, chocolate and meat just to name a few would make any food lover turn their attention towards this sensational culinary mecca.
But luckily Piemonte is not the only region where this special fungus grows. Every time I come back home between now and Christmas, there are a handful of restaurants that I must visit. It’s like a sort of drug... or medicine if you prefer. And there is one particular place that excels in creating truffles dishes that send you straight to paradise. Approximately 30 minutes south of Bologna in the Emilia Romagna region, there is a great family run trattoria where dreams come true. Opened in 1984, you can smell and taste history from the moment you walk in. Charming wooden interiors that give a comforting feel of true Italian hospitality. Here Mr Alberto and his family take you for a gastronomic journey that will be remembered for the rest of your life.
White truffles, we were saying. So of course I had to kick off our special menu with a delicious starter. Tigelle, a local mini disk pitta like bread made with pork fat, cut in half and stuffed with white truffle shavings. What a treat!
Not having a pasta dish in the region that is probably home to the best types of pasta would have been a sacrilege. I knew exactly what I was getting myself into and it’s here when really time stopped. Passatelli al burro e tartufo. Passatelli is a typical very thick spaghetti like pasta where the main difference is the fact that unlike most pasta where flower is the key ingredient, here the dough is obtained by combining egg, breadcrumbs and parmesan. All magically cooked in a delicate stock. How divine you would think, clearly a winner by itself. But imagine if they are creamed with a delicious blend of farmer’s butter and local hard cheese topped with glorious shavings white truffle. Somehow you manage to stop eating for a moment and eventually wonder if life is fair. It’s not. The smell is intoxicating, the taste is illegal. Hands down one of the top 5 pasta I ever ate!
As a main course I had to go for the dish of the house. Truffle egg. For Mr Alberto egg is arguably the most important of ingredients as he sees it as the perfect carrier of flavours and in this case we could not agree more. A Parmigiano mini basked holding inside oval shaped sphere obtained by egg whites that have been beaten to stiff peaks put in the oven for a few minutes. All covered of course with julienne style pieces of white truffle. And when placing your fork through the eggshell, a delicious runny egg announces to you that it’s now officially game over. It’s just so incredible to experience how few simple ingredients can give such a majestic result. We finished our meal with a great selection of homemade biscotti served with a Fior di Latte ice-cream and a balsamic vinegar syrup on top that seals the deal.
It saddens me to think that I will have to wait a couple of months to the next time I will be back. But then thinking about it it’s probably better this way because I am able to enjoy it to the fullest every time I come here. Oh, who am I kidding?