Courtesy of E. Schultz
Costing as much as $200 an ounce, white truffles are the diamond of fall produce. Hailing from select parts of Europe—primarily France and Italy—the small round bulbs are prized for their pungent fragrance and subtle earthy notes. When restaurants can’t afford them, many turn to pecan groves, which yield pecan truffles year-round in the Southeast region of the United States. Dishes constantly change with supply, so call ahead if you have your heart set on the decadent fungi.
Executive chef Gerry Klaskala serves up a rich black truffle and mushroom risotto as an ode to fall. He imports black Perigord truffles from France to shave over a decadent risotto laced with chanterelle and oyster mushrooms—also gems foraged in cooler weather—and Parmigianno-Reggiano cheese. Keep an eye out for other truffle dishes on Klaskala’s menu. He added that as the season progresses, the truffle crop becomes richer.
When white Alba truffles arrive at King + Duke, chef Drew Belline shaves them over a fall salad composed of quince poached in ginger simple syrup, thyme, citrus zest, spicy arugula, and toasted hazelnuts. Before finishing the dish with white truffles, Belline tops it with celery three ways: shaved raw celery hearts, pickled celery hearts, and blanched celery leaves. The restaurant recently bought white Albas for $1500 per pound, a steal in this truffle market, Belline says. Look out for preserved pecan truffles on the menu year-round at King + Duke, as Belline’s team sources them from a forager in Tifton, Ga. He poaches them in truffle juice and puts them up in large canning jars to add to steaks or use for special occasions.
Known for its handmade pastas, No. 246 serves bucatini carbonara that’s waxed in a traditional cream sauce and finished with perigord truffles, which are a black variety sourced from Alba, Italy and France. The early autumn truffle can be harvested through late winter, according to chef Andrew Isabella. His truffles are overnighted from Italy for the freshest possible results. Isabella says a scallop crudo dish with Meyer lemon is in the works to showcase his next batch of black beauties.
Resident truffle expert at Restaurant Eugene, chef Brian Jones waxes poetic on the intoxicating aroma of the autumn bounty. “It’s simply removing something from the ground that grew naturally in a symbiotic relationship with the tree, and how much time it takes to hunt for and harvest the truffles. Once they’re in the kitchen and you’re shaving them onto hot food in the dining room, the aroma pops.” The restaurant currently sources white truffles from Alba, Italy for $100 per ounce, blending the pungent shavings into the vegetable tasting menu wherever possible. Recently, Jones glazed fingerling sweet potatoes in sorghum syrup and served them over pureed Georgia-grown turmeric topped with lardo and shaved truffles. He has also used white truffles to infuse creamy grits and turmeric, and he plans to bring that combination of flavors back to the menu very soon. Depending on the truffle crop and matching produce that’s available, the team will also experiment with a white truffle flavored soup.