November is a favourite time of year for food fanatics: it’s peak white-truffle season.
Found in the Piedmont region of Italy, alba truffles are considered the world’s most precious. Eighteenth-century epicurean Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin called them the “diamond of the kitchen”.
Here are seven places to find these aromatic delicacies on the menu this fall.
Chef-owner Adam Pegg uses black truffles from France and Australia all year round but will be serving up all sorts of decadent white-truffle dishes throughout November. Among them: tajarin (egg yolk noodle) and butter, fried egg in butter, risotto al Parmigiano, fondu, ravioli al uovo, veal tartare, carbonara pasta, and more.
On November 17, La Quercia will hold a special multicourse truffle dinner.
Executive chef Andrew Richardson launched the Robson Street restaurant’s Mushroom and Truffle festival in 2004. This November, look for dishes featuring the coveted alba such as acquerello bianco risotto with truffle butter and house-made truffle tagliatelle. Other fest features include ricotta gnocchi with burgundy truffle, rosemary cream, and Marcona almond pannagratto; baked truffle polenta with truffle vinaigrette, wild and cultivated mushrooms, and truffle pecorino; and more.
On November 6, the restaurant hosts its annual truffle dinner, a five-course meal with wine pairings from the Piedmont region.
Chef Lucais Syme will be serving freshly made white-truffle tagliatelle and risotto as well as scallops with white truffle at both locations of the neighbourhood Italian restaurant.
“The smell makes your hair stand on end,” Syme says. “It’s luxurious and intoxicating. It’s a unique, deep-layered flavour.”
It really is black and white: black truffle tortellini combines black truffle pecorino inside the pasta with delicately chopped alba truffles in a beurre blanc.
Chef David Hawksworth will be serving a white truffle taglierini at Hawksworth this season, while sister restaurant Nightingale is featuring a white truffle gnudi (which resembles gnocchi but is made with ricotta).
“Truffles are one of my favourite ingredients,” Hawksworth says. “They have an earthy flavour and are extremely aromatic adding a rare complexity and depth to any dish.”
Italian truffle chef Carlo Zarri has cooked for some of the world’s biggest stars, and soon he’ll be cooking for Vancouverites. The author of From Sophia to Michelle (as in, Sophia Lauren and Michelle Obama, which won the 2019 Roero Journalism Award in the international category) is hosting a Piedmont truffle and hazelnut dinner event at the Italian Cultural Centre on November 28. The multicourse menu includes traditional vitello tonnato Piemontese with truffles mayonnaise; Fontina fonduta; freshly made fettuccine, baked lamb cutlets, and more.