Tuber melanosporum is quite a mouthful. It’s also incredibly delicious. More widely known as the black truffle, the precious and pricey mushroom--$800 a pound for "extra class"-- is in season now. When I received an invitation to celebrate "Black Truffle Friday" at Republique-one of my favorite new restaurants in LA-I marked the occasion on my calendar in big black Sharpie letters. The event was hosted by The Truffle & Wine Co. Based in Manjimup, West Australia, the truffière is the largest producer of T.melanosporum truffles in the Southern Hemisphere. This year they expect to harvest nearly six tons of fresh black truffles, a third of which will make its way to our shores.
The air at Republique was ripe with the seductive aroma of truffles when I arrived around 10 PM on Friday, the 13th. And once I saw that the entire restaurant had been closed for the occasion, any worries about this being an unlucky day vanished. How can any day when the wine, as well as the truffle-flavored beer, flows freely and you’re offered a dozen truffle-garnished dishes be anything be one of remarkable good fortune.
If you ever want to add the taste of extraordinary luxury to a dinner, you might consider one or more of these dishes:
- Lobster en croute with porcini mushroom and black truffle
- Grilled cheese on pain de mie with béchamel and black truffle
- Soft scrambled eggs on toast with Santa Barbara uni and black truffles
- Grass-fed beef tartare with tarragon aioli and black truffle
- Miniature ice-cream cones with cherries and black truffles
And, please save a place for me at the dinner!