For this chapter of EHL's “Gastronomy Culture” series, Christophe Laurent, our Senior Lecturer Practical Arts & EHL Values Ambassador, enlightens us about a delicacy for holiday meals: truffles.
If truffles are seasonal and mature at different times of the year in different parts of the world, it is during the fall and winter season that they are at their peak and flavorful.
The black truffle, tuber melanosporum, harvested mainly in south-west France, is certainly the mushroom, which has generated the most expressive images.
People have been eating this black diamond of the kitchen for almost 4,000 years. If it's in the sixteenth century that people instigated the use of muzzled pigs for finding them, it is in the eighteenth century that its popularity started to spread. In 1892, French truffle production was over 1,000 tons, against less than 100 tons today; which justifies its price.
During the holiday season, the truffle is the star of the show! It should therefore be used as an accent to you dish.
If sometimes people “truffe” a poultry externally by sliding slices between the flesh and skin of the bird, this practice only perfumed the oven! As only the truffles stuffed in the inside of the bird will give fragrance to the flesh, it is encouraged to fill the bird with a mixture of fresh pork belly fat, salt, brandy and fresh truffles. Given the cost of this delicacy, the last thing you want to do is dilute its essence in a complicated or overpowering dish. It is therefore, advised to pair it with simpler foods.
Tip for the holidays: Pair it with a Piedmontese red such as Barolo or Barbera or an earthy Burgundy for a match made in heaven.