Truffles. Those all mysterious, delectable, and pricey delights. Where art thou?
And, pragmatically… What exactly are truffles? How are they used in dishes. And, what’s the business of growing truffles like in Napa?
One way to find out is to attend the Napa Truffle Festival. Now in its fifth year, the event is equal parts in-depth learning and culinary pleasure. Chef Ken Frank (La Toque, Westin Verasa Napa) once again hosts. Expect incredible fragrances intermixed with science and farming.
The schedule is jam packed once again with interesting seminars, demos, and tastings. Over the course of the weekend you’ll learn just about everything there is to know about truffles including how to cultivate them, how to cook with them, and how to turn them into a viable business (many winegrowers allocate space for truffles). Most importantly, the Napa Truffle Festival takes you on location to an actual truffle orchard in Napa.
Others master chefs joining Ken Frank in demonstrating techniques for gourmet gastronomy featuring truffles include Riccardo Agostini (Ristoranti il Piastrino, Italy), Roberto Donna (Al Dente Ristorante, Washington), Tony Esnault (Church & State).
I’ve attended the Napa Truffle Festival several times in the past and have been fortunate enough to meet and talk with some of the industry’s luminaries. Here’s some of the Stark Insider videos we shot in Napa, featuring: Chef David Kinch (Manresa in Los Gatos, which is thankfully re-opening after a fire last year), Doug Duda of A&E, the truffle man himself Chef Ken Frank (La Toque), and a short doc we put together called “Truffles in America.”
Hope to see you soon in Napa.
The Napa Truffle Festival takes place January 16 though 19, 2015 at the Westin Verasa in Napa.
Oh, and parting thought on truffles. Two words: Atelier Crenn. See photo below. If you go, splurge on the extra dish. Bliss:
Napa Truffle Festival Videos
Chef David Kinch (Manresa) on Cooking with Truffles
Doug Duda of A&E on the allure of the Truffle
Chef Ken Frank (La Toque) interview, host of NTF
“Truffles in America”
Featuring Colman Andrew (Co-Founder, Saveur), Chef Ken Frank (La Toque), Michael Tusk (Quince), Nicola Chessa (Valentino), Marco Gubbiotti (La Bastiglia, Italy), Robert Sinskey, Robert Chang and Dr. Paul Thomas (American Truffle Company)