White truffle season

love-opera-victoria-bakerNovember is white truffle season. The white ones are only available a couple of months of the year, almost exclusively from one part of Italy where they must be foraged by special pigs.

There are fewer of them, and of lesser quality, every year. Because of that they are, in short, the perfect luxury commodity. They’re precious and getting more so all the time. Whether they are worth the money or not has a lot to do with how you like to spend and why you go to dinner.

Last truffle season I was in Miami and I had a fabulous white truffle experience, my first. Quattro is a gastronomic oasis in the heart of Miami’s stylish Lincoln Road. Chefs Nicola and Fabrizio Carro, identical twins from Italy, are cooking for the first time in the United States. By sourcing some of the best culinary talent from Italy as well as the highest quality Italian ingredients, Quattro is importing an authentic Italian experience to South Beach.

The Carros are adamant about adhering to traditional methods of preparation and using only the finest ingredients from Italy. Their quest to provide an authentic Italian experience has driven them to source a number of specialty food providers so that as many ingredients as possible are imported directly from Italy. These include basics like salt and flour as well as Mediterranean fish and specialty cheeses.

The New York-based firm Studio A Design transformed the breathtaking 3,500-square foot space into a sumptuous, rich Milanese-style trattoria outfitted in warm tawny browns and deep pine greens. Existing Terrazzo floors were preserved, their age and wear a source of inspiration for the space. Imported Italian materials are featured throughout the dining room, lending an authentic Mediterranean feel. Custom-made Murano glass chandeliers suspended from two antique mirrored coffers illuminate the room. Banquettes feature luxurious cognac Italian leather replete with double-stitch detailing.

The focal point of the room is a pristine Calacatta marble bar trimmed with Makassar ebony. It is situated between two exquisite refrigerated wine towers, which showcase the restaurants’ extensive wine collection. Each green glass bottle is individually lit inside the glass vitrine towers. You can find out more at Quattromiami.com

Our waiter was a real Italian and I had a wonderful time practicing my Italian with him. With his charming Italian suave persona, he guided me toward the white truffle menu and I haven’t looked back since. The first dish was white truffles over pasta and the aroma hits you first. Earthy but perfumed, from the bowels of the ground to the sublime, this paradox embodies the essence of the elusive white truffle. It’s one of those unique culinary experiences when food is elevated to something far beyond mere sustenance and like music, literature and poetry enters the realm of high art.

 

Victoria Baker, of Greenwich, is an opera singer. Winner of many prestigious competitions, she has performed and worked with distinguished artists all over the world (notably at Lincoln Center). Should you have any questions that deserve answers and may be in print please call 203-531-7499 or e-mail [email protected]

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