‘Tis the season—truffle season that is. In some parts of Italy, November is known as the “gold rush” month, when hunters set out in the foothills along with their dogs in search of the elusive truffle. Tartufi bianchi from Alba are among the most expensive foods in the world with a market price of $8,500 per kilo, and like a heady first kiss, their flavour is impossible to reproduce.
Much more than just food, the truffle evokes an emotion—one that Vancouver restaurant CinCin has guests gather around the table to share. November signals CinCin’s annual Festa del Fungo, a month-long celebration dedicated to all things fungi. Executive chef Andrew Richardson has been on a quest for the world’s finest truffles to elevate each dish designed specifically for the Mushroom and Truffle Festival—be it white Alba or the fresh black Burgundy truffles.
The festival’s kick-off (sold out) dinner had patrons face to face with truffle mania, with chef Richardson serving delicately truffle-infused fare: tortellini of ricotta and cauliflower topped with white truffle from Alba; fire-grilled lamb rack, accompanied by Hokkaido pumpkin and castelluccio lentils with black truffle. Continuing on, diners will be treated to a nightly rotating list of mushroom varieties along with truffle add-ons and sides. By month’s end, chef Richardson will have shaved through roughly two kilograms of white truffles and approximately six kilograms of black truffles.
Truffles are difficult to grow, hard to find (found close to the roots of trees, notably oak and hazelnut), in decline as a result of habitat loss, and in high demand—as such, their price point is at a 10-year high. If you’ve never tasted—or smelled—a truffle, you might well find it difficult to imagine what all the fuss is about. This is one gourmet delicacy you should try at least once in your life. CinCin welcomes the occasion to host you.
CinCin’s Festa del Fungo runs nightly through November at CinCin, 1154 Robson Street, Vancouver, 604-688-7338, cincin.net.
Photos by Leila Kwok.
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