One of the saving graces of winter is tuber melanosporum: the black truffles that perfume dishes from December to February.
There’s another variety, called tuber aestivum, or the summer truffle, which is whiter and has a more subtle taste.
A couple of years ago, Philippe Barrière opened his Atélier de la Truffe on rue Trivalle, the street just below la Cité. He long was the person who inspected each and every truffle sold at the markets in Aude. As I mentioned before, the truffle trade has long been an under-the-table affair, with unknowledgeable buyers sometimes paying fortunes for nothing more than rocks. In Aude, by contrast, all the truffles sold at the markets are inspected.
So M. Barrière knows his stuff, and we and a bunch of our friends decided to spend a summer evening enjoying his expertise.
Truffles are costly, so we limited ourselves to having an apéritif chez Barrière and then moving to a main course in the Bastide. First, we went for foie gras with truffles on toast.
I am not a foie gras fan, but I must admit it was beyond succulent. When the slates were set on the table, the scent of truffle from the generous portions was intoxicating.
We had a lovely bottle from Borie de Maurel in la Livinière part of Minervois. If you ever see a wine from la Livinière, you can bet it is good.
Then we had truffled chèvre, again delicious, though the foie gras was better. It’s like poor Aly Raisman. She is an amazing gymnast, better than everybody at the Olympics….except for Simone Biles, who got the gold. (Raisman won silver.) The chèvre was amazing…except that the foie gras was even more amazing.
Here’s a quick translation of the menu (truffled plates):
Smashed summer truffle on toast
Shirred eggs with summer truffle
Potatoes with summer truffle
Goat cheese with summer truffle
Beef carpaccio with summer truffle
Foie gras and summer truffle (notice the “and”–it means they’re sliced on top and not grated and mixed in like the others)
Fish carpaccio (he said it was tuna), with foie gras, summer truffle
Homemade summer truffle ice cream
We’ll be back….