‘Tis Truffle Season: In Search of White Alba Truffles
Gotta love Miami this time of year! Not only is the weather cooler and less humid, but Stone Crab season is in full swing, as is 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 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. With a short season only thru December, prices hover around $2000 a pound, but are still lower than the high in 2012 of $3000 a pound for the Alba white truffle.
In calling around MIAbites territory, we found that many restaurants are offering both white and black truffles a la carte, on pizzas, or have added to existing menu items 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 actual shaved truffles, especially the white truffles, to a dish. Supplemental prices can add $40-60 to a pasta or meat dish so ask ahead of time so you don't get surprised when you see the bill. 2-3 grams is usually enough for a pasta, egg or pizza dish.
So to savor this delicacy here are some options:
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 Shaved Brussels Sprouts Black Truffle Pizza with mushroom fonduta, sunny side up farm eggs, organic oak wood and smoked olive oil and Aspen's famous Truffle Fries. She also has the ability to add white truffles to her fresh pasta, steak dishes, mashed potatoes or any other dishes. Consider even adding to egg dishes at her very popular weekend brunch. Call ahead for availability and be prepared to pay an extra $45-65 for about 2 grams for the add ons. MC Kitchen 4141 NE 2nd Ave #101a, Miami, FL 33137 (305) 456-9948
Quattro Gastronomia Italiana
Lincoln Road’s Quattro is celebrating White Truffle season with a la carte menu items ranging in price from $45- $95. Antipasti items like Fontina Cheese Fondue with Truffle and Fried Quail egg and Tartar of Filet Mignon with truffle and baby artichoke salad, Primi Piatti of Tagliotini with Truffle butter sauce, Risotto with Burrata and Fresh shaved truffle and Secondi Piatti of Grilled Filet Mignon with truffle Porcini mushroom sauce or Veal Scallopine with Truffle butter and Truffle Fries. Quattro Lincoln Road Mall, 1014 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (305) 531-4833.
To celebrate the “white stuff”, Chef Neil O’Connell suggests adding freshly shaved white truffle to any of its pasta dishes including the ricotta raviolini and wild mushroom tagliatelle. Also available, Scarpetta’s classic Polenta with Truffled Mushrooms is a wonderful to enjoy the rich truffle flavor. Scarpetta The Fontainebleau- 4441 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140 (305) 674-4660
Sunset Harbour’s Italian hotspot, La Moderna is featuring Fettucine Porcini E Tarfuto - House-made pasta with imported porcini mushrooms and grated truffle. La Moderna 1874 Bay Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139
db Bistro Moderne
Treat yourself to The Original db Burger - sirloin burger filled with braised short ribs, foie gras and black truffle on a parmesan bun, served with a side of pommes frites. Db Bistro Moderne JW Marriott Marquis Miami, 255 Biscayne Blvd Way, Miami, FL 33131 305 421 8800
Jaya at The Setai
Jaya offers an Asian take on the Italian delicacy with Wagyu Tataki, with Leeks, Pickled Daikon, Crispy Garlic, Truffle Ponzu Dressing and a Truffle Dumpling with Scallops, Black Truffle, Port Wine Emulsion. Jaya at The Setai 2001 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139 855 923-7899
Bagatelle Miami Beach
Bagatelle has created a Truffle menu with not only a Truffled Gnocchi a la Parisienne and a Sliced Truffle Pizza, but also has the Black Gold, a creatively truffle infused Bourbon cocktail. Bagatelle 220 21st St, Miami Beach, FL 33139