Anyone who has engaged me in social conversation for more than five minutes--or read this article I wrote about Truffle Camp last year--knows of my intense passion for truffles. I rave about them at the slightest opportunity, usually in highly charged and inappropriate language. I insisted upon a full day, driving rain, middle-of-nowhere detour on my trip to New Zealand so that I could spend the night on an isolated truffle farm and meet the crazy English dude trying to farm these musky miracles--and even though I didn't get a single truffle out of the experience (not a single one had grown that year), I was cranked up like a fiend the whole time.
Not surprisingly, then, I freaked out when I heard that Napa was going to host its very own Truffle Festival December 10-12, 2010 at the Westin Verasa. An entire weekend of rooting around in truffle farms, truffle cultivation seminars, truffle cooking demos, truffle & wine pairing experimentation, and truffle eating benders prepared by a bevy of Michelin-starred chefs within stumbling distance of my home was almost too much for my reptilian brain to process. But reality struck with the publication of the ticket prices... which made it abundantly clear that I would not be attending any of the main rooting, fondling, or gorging events--or indeed, any part of the festival besides the Epicurean Marketplace.
Oh, to have $595 for the "cheap seats" Grower-Scientist Festival pass! Or, since I'm dreaming, the full $925 for the could-it-be-more-perfectly-named-in-my-honor Truffle Gourmand pass, which entitles the bearer to play scientist and hedonist, with access to ALL of the festival events... including the seven-course truffle orgy at the hands of a team of celebrity chefs 13 Michelin stars strong. If ever there were a time for me to find a patron willing to sponsor my art of unbridled truffle lust, this would be it! Alas, with only four days left to liftoff, I suspect I will have to continue "creating" on my own dime.
I want to hate the organizers for pricing the passes so high--and seconds later grovel at their feet to let me into their weekend of blissful delirium--but then they had to go and donate a portion of the ticket sale proceeds to Feeding America and The Hunger Project, and make me feel totally guilty for my selfish gluttony. Doh! But good on you, Lexus and The American Truffle Company.
If anyone reading this does get to attend the Festival proper, please take lots of pictures, share them here so I can live vicarious through them, and... please, please... smuggle out a pinch of real Perigord truffle dust for me to nuzzle.
(UPDATE: Divine intervention! I got to go... check out my later post for the story of how cool the festival actually was.)