Truffles Are In

I just read a list of the top 10 flavors for the food and beverage industry for 2012, forecasted by Bell Flavors & Fragrances, which serves the food, beverage cosmetics, household care, personal care, oral care and tobacco companies. “emerging cultures,” or interest in worldwide cuisine, is their theme of the year and truffle oil is number 1 on their list of savory flavors.

So, I decided to experiment with truffles and truffle oil, and see how they paired with different wines. To say the least, truffles have a very powerful and pungent aroma that fills the room. They’re rich and sensual, and need a hearty, not a delicate, wine to accompany them.

I experimented with black and white truffle sauces and homemade pasta. They could also be used to flavor an omelet, fondue, potatoes, pizza, risotto, polenta, ravioli, bruschetta, crostini or stuffing. I also tried a truffle oil vinaigrette with avocados, using a bit of truffle oil with olive oil and white wine vinegar.

Black truffles have a stronger flavor than the white, nevertheless they are both penetrating and dominating. They are best with a full-bodied tannic red wine. Even with a salad or avocado, which normally marry well with white wines, the flavor of truffle oil calls for red wine.

The reference points: The most sought-after black truffles come from Périgord, in the Dordogne. Besides Monbazillac, a sweet white wine, this region is known for Cahors, a hearty, rustic red wine. The most highly prized white truffles come from Alba, in Piemonte, which is also famous for its grand, full-bodied reds, Barolo and Barbaresco.

We’re in the middle of truffle season and the midst of formal dinner parties, so enjoy them now!

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