I’ve never been one to buy presents for loved ones that I wouldn’t also want myself, and I’m starting to notice a trend. More often than not, they’re of the edible variety, or a book/course dedicated to cooking edible things. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t buy something foodie if I didn’t think they’d appreciate it. But there’s something really exciting about having an idea, sorting it out, then counting down the days till you share that gift with someone special. If I look back and reflect on some of the gifts I’ve been given, it’s not a handbag or bottle of perfume that I remember (though these things are nice), it’s a special meal or new ingredient I’ve yet to discover that stay with me.
As a birthday treat for a special man I bought some fresh black winter truffles, aka ‘Perigord, Norcia Pregiato’. These bad boys were purchased from the Truffle Hunter, an ex-banker turned Truffle Dealer specialising in Truffles sourced from Central and Northern Italy. Okay, okay, So I didn’t just buy them for him, I bought them because I like them
more too, and truth be told I wasn’t entirely upset that he was away for the weekend allowing me, and the truffles, to play.
The truffles arrived the day after placing the order. As the postman handed over my eagerly awaited parcel, unmistakable musky aromas exuded from the box – and I can only imagine the delivery van was engulfed in the aroma too. Packaged with cooling packs in a neat little wooden box, I laid the truffles out one by one and admired them. Each one was carefully wrapped in kitchen paper and placed in a tuppaware box bound for the fridge (with a couple of fresh eggs thrown in for good measure and even better scrambled eggs in a few days time).
I also received a free small bottle of Black Truffle Deli oil, recommended with risottos, pasta, meat carpaccio, mushrooms and eggs amongst other things.
I indulged in just a couple of simple recipes before the birthday boy returned and the celebrations began. Rich buttery Scrambled Eggs covered with a generous (to say the least) layer of finely grated black truffles, and a Black Truffle Orzo Risotto, adapted from the Arborio/Carnaroli recipe on the TruffleHunter’s website. I deliberately opted for Orzo instead of Rice as the flavour is far more delicate and subtle, enabling more of the un-adultered Black Truffle flavour to come through. The Orzo is also not as heavy or creamy as Rice (which coincidentally meant I could have a bigger portion).
On the birthday night we shared Linguine with Burnt Butter and Black Truffles, an attempted recreation of a simple pasta dish we recently had at Locanda Locatelli. The Locatelli dish was quite literally the BEST pasta I had ever eaten, and whilst the dried De Cecco Linguine we used wasn’t a bad substitute, it came no where near the excellence of the restaurants fresh Tagliatelle. Sigh….one day I’ll be able to make amazing pasta! But till then, good quality dried must do.
I hope to catch some White Spring Truffles soon, a much cheaper variety than the Winter White Truffles. But with no friends birthday’s coming up…will Easter count?!