White Gold: I’m Not Talking about the Metal
A year ago I wrote about truffles. I can’t believe another year has passed already. We were dining at Oliveto Cafe because we didn’t have reservations at the upstairs restaurant for the truffle dinner. My friend didn’t risk it this year, she made reservations ahead of time. Even with advance notice, we ended up with a 5:30 pm reservation for four at Oliveto on Friday. They were serving their special truffle dinner for only four days. From my understanding, this years trip to Italy didn’t warrant the abundance of truffles like it did last year.
We were all newbies to the truffle dinner so the waiter spent a significant amount of time describing our options. There was a special menu created by Chef Jonah Rhodehamel, with many items infused with black truffles. Items listed with an asterisk were accepting of white truffles. We were there for the white gold, the white truffle. Like gold, you would pay by gram. Each gram was $10 and they recommended about 5 grams per dish. Do the math!
I was going to share a few things with one of my friends. We were each going to have our own appetizer, split two pastas and one entree. Our table had a total of three pastas and we had decided we would get ten grams and divide it among the pastas. The waiter found an 11 gram truffle and brought it to the table.
I chose the soup which was velluta of celery root with black truffle creme fraiche. Velluta means velvet and my soup was not only velvety, but delicious. My friend who doesn’t like celery was into it.
She ordered the sformatino di nocce which is like a custard. I had a small taste. My friend describes it as “warm and delicate gelantanous mold of savory walnut custard”.
My other friends also shared two of their own appetizers, one was the same soup I had and the other was the pan roasted scallops with cauliflower two ways and black truffle spumonte sauce. I didn’t try this dish, but it looked gorgeous. The scallops were perfectly golden brown.
A few moments after our pastas arrived, someone came by to shave our 11 gram truffle that had been sitting in the center of our table. We had two orders of cannelloni of leeks with Parmesan cheese and tajarin with butter glaze. The truffle was carefully shaved equally on top of the three orders of pastas. The cannelloni was soft and delicate. It was simple and allowed us to really taste and appreciate the earthly flavor of the truffle shavings.
Tarjarin is pasta made of flour and egg and similar consistency to angel hair pasta. Again we chose a simple pasta and figured the butter glaze would match well with the truffles. It did.
The entree I shared was the pork porterhouse with black truffle sausage, farro, and lacinato kale. I enjoyed this dish, but wasn’t sure why or how Chef Rhodehamel came up with this combination.
We went a bit dessert crazy and each ordered one. I was trying to be good, ordered the Isabella grape sorbetto and had a teaspoon of everyone’s dessert. They were all amazing and enjoyable. Two thumbs up to the pastry chef.
French Butter pear budino with black truffles in Cognac and agrumato cream
Warm apple crostata with huckleberry swirl ice cream
Bittersweet chocolate cake
This was an amazing meal that was enjoyed well over three hours with good friends. Although the meal is gone, we will keep the memories.