Gotta love Miami this time of year! Not only is the weather cooler and less humid, but Stone Crab season has returned and so has Truffle Season. True food experts, think “white truffle” when they hear “the white stuff”…and yes…white truffle season is upon us.
A subterranean fungi, truffles are round, warty, and irregular in shape and vary from the size of a walnut to that of a man's fist. The French black truffle from the Perigord region of southwest France is popular shaved over pizza and pasta and as an additive to butter and in making foie gras.
The jewel of Italian gastronomy, the "white truffle" or "trifola d'Alba" comes from the Piedmont region in northern Italy and, most famously, in the countryside around the cities of Alba and Asti. It can also be found in Molise, Abruzzo, and in the hills around San Miniato, in Tuscany.
They are harvested by expert “truffle foragers” with trained dogs or pigs who are able to detect the strong smell of mature truffles underneath the surface of the ground usually during the months of September and early October before being sold at “truffle fairs” and released to those craving the delicacy. Pricing has climbed over the years reaching a high in 2012 of $3000 a pound for the coveted Alba white truffle.
In calling around MIAbites territory, I found that many restaurants are offering both white and black truffles a la carte, or have added to existing menu items a truffle butter or truffle oil. In many cases the truffle dish is not on the regular menu and has to be asked for. BUT, be prepared to pay a premium for adding the shaved truffles, especially the coveted white truffles, to a dish!
So to savor this delicacy here are some options:
MC Kitchen-4141 NE 2nd Ave #101a, Miami, FL 33137
You can tell the minute Truffle season begins when Chef Dena Marino starts posting pictures on her Twitter and Instagram. She has on her current menu a wonderful Truffle and Shaved Brussels Sprout pizza, and Aspen's famous Truffle Fries. She also has the ability to add white truffles to pasta, steak, mashed potatoes or any dishes. Call ahead for availability and be prepared to pay an extra $45-65 for about 2 grams for the add ons.
Scarpetta-In The Fontainebleau- 4441 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140
Executive Chef, Marlon Rambaran, welcomes diners to Scarpetta with a special Truffle dish featuring fresh pasta, wild mushrooms, white truffle sabayon and shaved white truffles. White truffles can also be added to variety of regular menu items for a supplemental charge.
Quattro-1014 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Twin chefs, Nicola and Fabrizio Carro have added a special white truffle menu from October to December. All plates come with 2 grams of Alba white truffles shaved on top. Highlights include Tartare of Filet Mignon with Baby Artichokes and Parmesan Salad, Tagliolini in Italian Butter Sauce, Risotto with Burrata, and for main courses, Veal Scallopini with Truffle Sauce and Truffle Fries, and Sliced Filet Mignon with Porcini Mushroom sauce. Prices range from $45 for starters to $95 for main courses. The chefs recommend red wines from Piermonte for these dishes.
A number of other restaurants are also celebrating the arrival of this seasonal delicacy, either offering a la carte, or as a truffle oil or truffle butter addition. These include:
Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill
The Restaurant at The Setai
The Truffle Season is only until December, so call ahead and make it a point to sample at least one of these fabulous dishes this season!