Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Truffle Festival, Part Deux

"Whosoever says truffle, utters a grand word, which awakens erotic and gastronomic ideas...."
Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826), preface to ‘The Physiology of Taste’ (1825).

"The truffles themselves have been interrogated, and have answered simply: eat us and praise the Lord." - Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870).

You see? We are not alone in our truffle depravity.  There is in fact a long and glorious tradition of truffle worship, culminating in the Napa Truffle Festival and its wonderland of earthy delights.  I had the great good fortune of getting to sit in on this hedonist's fantasy last year, for the inaugural event at the Westin Verasa.  You can read my official WineCountry.com coverage of that experience here, and my unofficial trip down memory lane (with photographs) here.

The second Napa Truffle Festival promises to be just as much delicious fun as the first.  This one will take place January 13-16th, 2012, coinciding with the kickoff of the 30th Annual All Truffle Dinner at La Toque.  As with the first Napa Truffle Festival, there will be two thematic tracks from which attendees can choose: the Scientific, for those interested in becoming truffle cultivators, and the Culinary, for those intent on eating as many truffles as possible (not an exact quote from the sponsors).

Among the highlights: Barbara Fairchild, the former Editor in Chief of Bon Appetit magazine will be delivering the keynote speech; a Michelin-starred cast of international chefs will be cooking the outrageous multicourse Truffles and Wine dinner for Saturday night; daily truffle cooking demonstrations and truffle wine pairing seminars; trufflicious lunches at La Toque; and a guided tour of Robert Sinskey Vineyard's developing truffle orchards in Carneros.

For those poor souls who who can't afford the all-inclusive $1,250 pass (that's per person, yo), there are other, more moderately priced ticket options to the festival, and a mere $40 will get you access to the Napa Truffle Festival Marketplace, where truffly goods of all kinds (including les truffes themselves) will be available for tasting and purchase.  Check the Festival's main page, or Facebook page for full details and updates as the date draws nearer.  You can also https://twitter.com/NapaTruffleFest for up to the second news.

As we toil through the four torturous months remaining until the festival, remember that Whole Foods carries a very respectable brand of truffle butter (yes I know it's not the same as the real thing but it's still super tasty), which -- with some mood lighting and sexy music -- ought to get the job done.

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