FIRST OF MANY TRUFFLE DINNERS


When I signed up for Culinary Getaways' truffle week, I knew I was in for something good, but had no idea of the extent of the extravagance ahead of me. Every meal, including breakfast, offered an opportunity to eat something with truffles. When I entered into the kitchen I thought I had just about died and gone to heaven.


Even before we got to the truffles, we all had our hands full with the culinary spread that Sherry Page laid out. The platter of goat cheeses offered a combination so brilliant that I can talk all day about each one. Of the five, my favorite was the Banon à la feuille, which is an unpasteurized cheese made from goat's milk, wrapped in chestnut leaves, aged for three weeks, and tied with raffia (palm tree fibers). As soon as I sent my knife into the cheese rind, a golden rich, buttery, and creamy liquid exuded. Pure decadence! I dolloped a huge spoonful onto a thin morsel of bread, and was in heaven. 

 

My second favorite cheese was the Pelardon, which is the one pictured with the golden label. This soft-ripened cheese is made from unpasteurized goat's milk, crafted and aged in the Cévennes range of the Languedoc-Roussillon region, which is on the southern coast of France. Delicate with a slight chevre tanginess against the backdrop of cream and complex fruit, tied together with a refined saltiness, this cheese was easy to love. The balance of the three goat cheeses included one coated in vegetable ash, one topped with caraway seeds and a fresh chevre topped with pink peppercorns. All excellent.


There was a platter of thinly shaved serrano ham, which I wrapped with super sweet bosc pears and kiwi. I couldn't stop noshing on the ham!


Not be overlooked was the veggie platter with a fabulous light dip which contained anchovies. I was compulsively dipping the French breakfast radishes and cauliflower into the fish dip throughout the evening. 

 

The taureau saussicon or bull sausage was one of several artisan sausages that we would enjoy over the week. Well-aged with a good balance of herbs, spices and salt, it was simply delicious!

 

Although you can barely see the olives in the lower right corner of the picture above, I wanted to point out the significance of Nyons black olives, which are harvested at full maturity after the first frost of the season, when the natural moisture of the fruit is extracted, yielding refined olive flavors, a denser texture and fine wrinkles on the skin. 

 

Nyon black olives are dry-cured in salt for roughly eight months and packed with olive oil. So good and special, Nyon black olives have garnered their own AOC, which is the French system for designating and controlling the geography and quality of agricultural products, such as wines. These olives deserve it!

After an informative lesson on how to choose a good truffle, Sherry Page shaved a few chips for our first truffle dinner of the week. And extra for nibbling!


Truffle chips were topped onto a thin toasted baguette, drizzled with homemade truffle oil and sprinkled with fleur de sel. So simple and divine!

 

The mache salad topped with diced Perigord truffles introduced a pleasant earthiness with a supple crunch that added a  nice contrast to the soft and tender winter leaves.

  

For the entree, we had roasted pork tenderloin, potato au gratin and roasted root vegetables, all sprinkled with medallions of shaved truffles. The earthiness of the potatoes married well with the complex flavors of the black truffles, which were beautifully complemented with a touch of cream.  Cheese was omitted so as not to compete with the delicate truffle flavors. I enjoyed the potatoes au gratin so immensely that I'm planning to recreate this dish at home, if you're interested Sherry Page's excellent recipe click here.

 

And if you didn't think black truffles could be incorporated into desserts, Sherry Page had made truffle panna cotta. Delicate sweet, earthy and creamy flavors with a hint of cocoa and red wine from the truffles, I probably could of had a couple cups of these truffle panna cottas. Again divine!

 

The dinner was paired with two bottles of exceptional wines from Provence. Of the two, I especially enjoyed the 2006 Domaine Pontifical Chateauneuf-du-Pape, which was a full-bodied, bold and complex red wine with deep plum flavors and strong notes of lavender among other herbes de Provence. 


This was such an incredible welcome dinner that I couldn't believe we still had five more days of indulging in truffles. It truly set the tone for expectations in the upcoming days. 

Related Posts
Truffle Hunting in Provence
Chez Bruno - The Ultimate Truffle Dining Experience in Provence
Saint Rémy de Provence
Bistrot Découverte in Saint Rémy de Provence
Château Beaucastel Winery of Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Châteauneuf-du-Pape - One of the World's Premier Wine Region

78 comments:

Wendy (The Local Cook) said...

Oh. my. word. That looks so decadent. I have actually never had truffles, but I really should. I do love a good morel dinner from time to time though!

Kim said...

Oh my goodness. I don't know where to start. The goat cheese selection sounds so wonderful. I probably would've made a pig of myself:D Your welcome meal sounds absolutely wonderful and the wine sounds interesting with it's notes of lavender and herbs de provence. I bet you had a constant smile on your face the entire time you were there!

Fimère said...

ton diner a l'air délicieux une belle présentation
bonne journée

Joanne said...

This is basically foodie heaven. I am probably going to be going to France in June and I can't wait for all the good cheese. And bread. That is what I intend to live off of for those two weeks.

So interesting that they incorporated truffles into dessert! Crazy.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Truffles at EVERY meal???!!! You're just killing me ... envy, desire, hunger ... I'm going through it all right now.

Angie's Recipes said...

Even your breakfast served with truffles!? wow...that's a treat for the queen!

Bellini Valli said...

I really enjoyed reading about your week..a dream come true.

Mimi said...

Definitely need to pace your self with all of those delicious foods in front of you.
Mimi

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

*GASP* Would you look at that!!! Lucky girl, you! :)

George Gaston said...

I mentioned in a previous post, that you had found a piece of paradise in southern France. Now you are dining with the gods...

and we are lucky enough to come along through your incredible photographs and descriptions. Many thanks...

Unplanned Cooking said...

I am so signing up for this. I think I've died and gone to heaven. Wow!

A Year on the Grill said...

i love looking over your shoulder for this!!!

incredible

Tara said...

That looks wonderful. I want to take this class. Amazing!

Joy said...

I have never had the chance to taste an actual truffle, but gosh does it look amazingly decadent. This meal looks fantastic I would've devoured everything!

ARUNA said...

wow gorgeous clicks!!

Table Talk said...

Pure decadence! I want to take a bite out of each picture. Lucky you to have enjoyed such a fantastic dinner!

Chef E said...

That is it! Let me know next time you go, and I am organizing an Alba trip in November when the White truffles come out!

Penny said...

Oh My! What a wonderful opportunity. I am loving this whole trip and your photos are perfect.

Astra Libris said...

Oh my goodness, I'm raptures, just imagining the explosion of flavors... Thank you for sharing the delights with us! I can't wait for the next chapter!

donuts4dinner said...

Truffle panna cotta?! That's just crazy. And wonderful!

OysterCulture said...

Now that looks amazing. Thats one of those meals you will remember forever.

The Blonde Duck said...

Everything looks so elegant!

kat said...

Wow, quite a meal!

kat said...

Wow, quite a meal!

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Lori Lynn said...

Incredible! Extraordinary! Amazing!

How neat for you Christine, I bet you dream of truffles! Thanks for sharing it all with us.
LL

Jennie said...

Christine I am so envious right now!
This sounds amazing. All of it.

megan said...

oh my...so fancy! it looks so impressive!

A Canadian Foodie said...

I am staying tuned for the upcoming days... what a decadent week - and so glad you splurged so I can live vicariously through you! DOnt leave out a thing!
XO
valerie

Kitchen Butterfly said...

What a great variety of uses.........

TKW said...

Wow. That sounds like a whopper of a meal! Lucky you!

Bridgett said...

This meal is incredible! So very decadent.

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

Swoon! This looks like gastronomic heaven. I adore Provence and try to put pictures of it on my blog whenever it crops up!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

This is fabulous Christine. Just fabulous. I can't imagine having homemade truffle oil in my pantry. Thanks for taking us along.
Sam

♥peachkins♥ said...

OMG!! This would've made my year!!! Everything looked divine!

Gloria said...

Christine this look absolutely amazing, beauty pictures, gloria

Everything look nice!

~Dana said...

Lovely! Everything looks delicious!

Megan said...

What a beautiful meal! It all looks so extravagant. I absolutely love panna cotta, and I can't even imagine how wonderful truffle panna cotta must be.

Belinda @zomppa said...

Truffle wha?? I want in! =) Serrano ham - you found my weakness.

Carolyn Jung said...

Days of truffles?? Can I be your wench? Can I carry your luggage? Can I be your official taster? Anything, anything at all?? Gawd, my kingdom for such truffles. ;)

3 hungry tummies said...

When I first saw the headline I thought I shouls just look away haha. What a great post, I'm envy!

El said...

You're becoming quite a truffle expert. The olives look good too!

Esme said...

Looks like you ate well during your time there. DId you get the recipe for the veggie dish-I am not an anchovie fan but it sounds interesting.

Esi said...

I'm obsessed with truffles, so jealous of your truffle week!

Pam said...

You lucky, lucky girl! I would give anything for a truffle week.

theUngourmet said...

Oh my goodness! You must have thought you'd died and gone to heaven! Everything looks fantastic!

Debinhawaii said...

My you ate well! I was enthralled by the goat cheeses and then you got to the truffle dishes... ;-)

balancejoyanddelicias said...

such a feast!!! It's already beautiful and tasty from these photos, I can't imagine how they actually taste! you're so lucky :)

balancejoyanddelicias said...

such a feast!!! It's already beautiful and tasty from these photos, I can't imagine how they actually taste! you're so lucky :)

Mari's Cakes said...

Love everything, from the tiny fromage, flowers and Dinner!

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

Thank you so much for taking us along to the dinner! Everything looks & sounds amazing. Great photos! I think I would have been in heaven with only the cheeses.... :)

5 Star Foodie said...

How incredible! The dishes with truffles look divine! I would love to try that panna cotta with truffles! The platter of goat cheeses captures my heart too!

MaryMoh said...

Gosh...can't believe what I'm seeing....fabulous food and truffles! I want every dish :P

Cathy said...

What a wonderful experience. All the dishes are amazing and extravagant. Love the cheeses as well.

Cinnamon-Girl♥ said...

What an amazing spread of food! And the dessert - how unique and delicious sounding!

nancy at goodfoodmatters said...

Mon Dieu! Incredible!
Th selection of goat cheeses (the banon wrapped in chestnut leaves!!)are astonishing. And, What an introduction to the world of truffles---I would never have thought to incorporate into a dessert. Can't wait to see what the remainder of your truffle adventure holds.

Barbara said...

Oh my. What a delight...from start to finish. Those cheeses! And the truffle panna cotta! I'm jealous! My cooking is so mundane!

Gulmohar said...

Everything looks fabulous...wonderful...

Sean said...

Complete truffle overload.
Absolutely incredible!!

Kris said...

Truffle week? That is HEAVEN ON EARTH!

high low said...

i love living vicariously through you!

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

So totally over the top wonderful!

Juliana said...

Yummie a whole week with truffles...what a dream...everything looks great...olives, cheese...truffles and more truffles :-)

Skip to Malou said...

you're one lucky lady... i'm green with envy!
i could only dream of Provence, of truffles... ahh this is foodie trip heaven!

Rachael said...

I'm totally drooling with jealousy over here! I can't wait to here about the other days!

The Cooking Photographer said...

I feel so lucky! I got to see all your beautiful pictures. What an amazing trip!

Chow and Chatter said...

wow you should be a photographer great post

Ravenous Couple said...

we've never had much of truffles so this is a great mouth watering education!

lostpastremembered said...

That truffle caught my eye on food with style... like a dusky jewel center stage.. how lucky for you to get to taste so many great truffle things... yippee!

Katy ~ said...

The gods are envious!

Katy ~ said...

The gods are envious!

Flour said...

Oh my...the ham, fruit, & vegetable plates look so delectable! I've never had a truffle before. Looks like quite an amazing experience!!!

The Chef In My Head said...

Fabulous!!! All of it!! I simply have to go on one of these trips, SOON! ~LeslieMichele

Diana Bauman said...

Oh my wow Christine! Jamon Serrano in the morning would really make my day! Lovely post!

Sara said...

I don't even know where to begin on this post! I love it all so much! The goat cheese, the truffles, the salad, the panna cotta, the olives, the wine! Amazing!

Lori said...

What an incredible experience! Honestly, I just had truffles for the first time last year and I certainly see what all the fuss is about. They are amazing. Every bite of those dishes had to be outstanding.

Julia said...

Truly incredible. I really think the truffle has inspired you, and your writing really shows it. There is a real shine to your post!

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

Decadence personified!