La Toque has long been known for our extravagant truffle menus. We had a very successful Summer run with Australian Black Winter Truffles. Their perfume this year was equal to the finest European Truffles. We are excited that this bodes well for the truffle orchards planted locally that should mature into production in the next few years. European Winter Truffles should start up in late December and peak early in the New Year. In the meantime, White Truffle season is just getting started. Summer rain in Northern Italy this year has triggered a vigorous fruiting cycle and the first few weeks have yielded truffles with terrific perfume. The quality is improving every week and our friends in Italy are looking forward to the best season in a few years. Nature willing, we should have fresh White Truffle available on the menu well into December. Stay tuned......
We were able to offer our Our 31st Annual All Truffle menu until just past Easter this year, a new record. If all goes well, we anticipate our 32nd Annual All Black Truffle menu, with fresh Black Truffle in every course, will debut on Friday, January 10th, 2014.
We are also looking forward to host the Fourth Annual Napa Truffle Festival, January 17 though 19, 2014. The festival features seminars on truffle cultivation, winery truffle lunches, a spectacular Gala Dinner featuring Michelin Star Chefs from Europe and the United States, visits to a local truffle plantation and a mushroom foraging expedition. Visit napatrufflefestival.com for further information.
We only use truffles from sources we know well and have used for years. We feature three species of fresh Truffles; Tuber magnatum pico, the true white truffle, Tuber melanosporum, the true winter black truffle and occasionaly Tuber uncinatum, often referred to as the Summer or Burgundy truffle. Other species just don’t compare, and they’re not worth the money. We do not use truffles native to China or Oregon, although we look forward to the success of American truffle plantations in the next few years. The truffles from the Himalayas are technically truffles, but their flavor pales in comparison to the real thing. Sadly many people don't know the difference and are either easily fooled, or worse, mix them in with real truffles to cut costs.
We also don't use "truffle oil", "truffle cream", "truffle honey" or "truffle salt" at La Toque. Truffle oil will desensitize your palate to the true but more subtle flavor of real fresh truffle. Flavored truffle products are a fraud, shunned by good chefs who know better. Truffles have been savored for millennia but truffle oil is a new phenomenon. It is no coincidence that "truffle oil" appeared a few decades ago, around the same time scientists successfully duplicated the chemical compounds in the laboratory that are responsible for truffles legendary aroma. If it was possible to produce truffle oil by natural means, the Romans would have figured it out long ago.You can infuse some fresh truffle flavor into oil or butter, but it doesn't keep any better than fresh truffles which are best consumed within 10 days of hunting. Because of this very short shelf life, real truffle flavored oil is simply not a viable product. Commercially produced truffle oil is invariably artificially flavored, no matter how fancy the bottle or prestigious the purveyor. It is simply too good to be true. Real “home made” truffle flavored oil or butter is always subtle in flavor unlike the powerful products sold commercially. That little scrap of "truffle" at the bottom of the jar is often from an inferior species, and in any event, it takes much more than a little crumb of truffle to infuse oil with any amount of flavor.
For more information on truffles I recommend three books; The Little Book of Truffles published by Flammarion, Truffles Ultimate Luxury Everyday Pleasure by Rosario Safina and Judith Sutton published by Wiley and The Truffle Book by Gareth Renowden published by Limestone Hills Publishing.
I also recommend that you visit simplyflavors.com, my favorite and most trusted purveyor of fresh truffles.
You can see our truffle menus from previous years by clicking on the links below.
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