Posts Tagged With: white Truffles

I Chose the Wrong Day to Go to Eataly

Eataly TrufflesI’ll start this one with the current list of my biggest weaknesses:  Pizza, Bread Pudding, small spiders, Ramen, foreign movies, big spiders, White Truffles.  Yes, white truffles!  Or as I call it, Tuber Magnatum Pico.  As some of you that read this blog for a while know, me and Tuber go way back.  Last fall the relationship reached its peak when we spent four days in Piedmont, possibly the most underrated region in Italy for food.   While in NYC, I always look forward to every opportunity for a taste during the fall season, often shelling out premium $$$$ for it.  But I should probably give It a rest.

I always look for excuses to go to Eataly.  Need wine for Thanksgiving… Eataly!  Need fresh pasta.. Eataly.  Need new light bulbs in the bathroom… you guessed it… hardware store… on the way to Eataly.  Yes its touristy, crowded and a little expensive, but in this case all for good and valid reason.  I can spend hours there, Sunday Football hours!  And I normally do.  I dont need to “brave the tourists”, partly because I’m used to the scene and partly because I dont really feel like I’m braving anyone.  If anything it feels like a good spot for people watching, although my eyes are normally glued to the shelves.

Pranzo TruffleLast Sunday also happened to be “Truffle Day”, a collaboration with our local truffle tzar Urbani.  Urbani, in addition to bringing in Truffles from Umbria, makes truffle sauces, truffle butter, truffle perfume (on my Santa list), and anything and everything to do with truffles.  If you are in the area of their headquarters on 60th and West End ave (11th  ave), I suggest popping in for a quick look at their showroom where you can purchase any of their products including some nasty looking Tubers.  Juts keep in mind the dry summer in Italy this year resulted in less and more expensive truffles this time around

Ok, confession time, I dont really call them Tuber Magnatum Pico, but I feel like I should.  I was just talking to friends the other day about ear, nose and throat doctors, and that they dont have more of a proper name like Gynecologist.  As if they simply ran out of “ologists” when they got to those parts of the body.  Well, it turns out they didnt.  “Otolaryngologist” is the proper name, so you can see why no one calls them Otolaryngologists.  No one can.

Pranzo Carne CrudaAnyway, so Sunday off I go to Eataly for a quick Salumi and wine run, and before you knew it, I’m asking a waiter wearing white gloves to turn the truffle around so I could take a better shot of it during a $140 solo truffle lunch.  It was like sending an alcoholic to the local bar for diapers.  I even left without buying any salumi because they put the truffle stand right next to the salumi/cheese making me miss it and forget all about it.  I spent a good 20 minutes looking and talking at these babies until the truffle lady called security.  As for the lunch, this was at Pranzo (meaning “lunch”), Eataly’s lunch only restaurant in association with its cooking school.  Lets just say, after this Carne Cruda and pasta, both with four grams of shavings each, a little more schooling is in order (hence the title).  But bashing is not the goal of this post.  The goal is to celebrate everything Eataly and Italy

Some new and old faves:

Eataly Real ExtraAnellini Caramel biscuits – Perfecto with tea.  I will be abusing these all winter

Venchi Chocolates – Those are the chocolates you’ll see sold by the pound by the sweets counter.  Anythig dark and hazelnutty especially good.  Expensive for good reason, just like all the rest of the Piedmontese sweets.  And ye, just about half of the chocolates you’ll see over the store come from Piedmont

Truffle sauces – Especially the mushroom/truffle stuff from Urbani,  Like Pasta cologne

Fresh pasta – mainly Agnolotti dal Plin which I make with.. you guessed it.. truffle butter

Re Ale Extra Beer – Love the Italian craft beer here and this is my favorite.  Fantastically hoppy, citrusy IPA.

Italian Sodas – Chinoto, Gazzosa

(Just avoid the truffles)

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Categories: Gramercy, Flatiron, New York City | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Piedmont in a (Hazel)Nutshell

Italy 2014 004“Err” thats what my scale said this morning, two days after we came back from Piedmont and Emilia Romagna.  So I tried again, and this time it said “One at the time”, followed by “Err”.  But I really dont feel like “Err”.  I feel like I ate very well, as in plenty of non processed, organic home cooking very well.  In fact, it was the greatest food trip of our young lives, and the first Italy trip where food and wine was the main focus.  The biggest tourist attraction on this trip was a statue of an oversized woman squeezing her breasts.  I will have much more about this trip, but meanwhile here’s a small recap of what we did in the Piedmont leg where we spent four days filled with wine, white truffles, onions, wrong turns, mushrooms, lakes, black truffles, vineyards, wrong turns after dark, and more white truffles.

Day 1 – Lago di Orta

45 minutes from Malpensa there’s this beautiful gem most Americans never heard of.  Lake Orta.  We stayed at Agriturismo il Cucchiaio di Legno 5 minutes from the lake, and the entire food itinerary this day surrounded the Agriturismo.  Starting with the picnic basket that we used on the picnic tables on the stunning Sacro Monte di Orta where the picture on top was taken.  Ending with a 10+ courser at their restaurant.  More to come on that too.  And in between the meals we explored the magical town of Orta San Giulio, where we bought Raffi, a small but deadly stinky truffle that we carried with us the entire trip, only to discover yesterday that Raffi tragically died

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Day 2 – Alba, Cherasco

One of the reasons for this trip is the Truffle Festival in Alba, a town renowned for its White Truffles and hazelnuts.  The entire town smells of Truffles and Nutella (this is the birthplace of Nutella).  But the big bonus on this day was the huge Saturday market where we indulged in chocolates which I regret not buying more.  Lunch on this day was at La Bottega del Vicoletto, a typical small family trattoria, where we had our first of many truffle tastings.

Before checking into a hotel with the best views from the toilet I’ve ever seen, we stopped at the Castle of Grinzane Cavour.  Its a magnificent castle, bested only by the stunning 360 panoramic views around it.  Its trully a great introduction to the Langhe area

After we rested a bit, we went to explore the town of Cherasco, known for its snails and kisses, as in the famous Baci di Cherasco chocolates.  But the main target of course was dinner at Osteria La Torre, one of many great restaurants in that area

Overnight in Tota Virginia in Serralunga D’Alba (3 nights).  I chose this place because it was the only one in the area I could pronounce

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Day 3 – Neive, Barbaresco, and The Lunch

The main event on this day was the 3 hour lunch at Il Centro in Priocca.  A meal for the ages, and an experience we will never forget.  The sheer number of great eats within a 20 km radius of Alba is quite shocking.  I will have more on this meal in no time

In the morning we explored the tiny, picturesque Neive where we sampled some more wine and crashed a Macedonian religious service.  We then went on a drive where I counted 34 ooohs and Ahhs from Mrs Z.  Half of them out of fear really.  After lunch we explored the village of Barbaresco.  And capped the day with a nice dinner at Castello di Verduno winery’s restaurant Ca Del Re in Verduno, another local Slow Food place

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Day 4 – Barolo, Another great lunch, Serralunga

Drove to Barolo the long way to find this odd looking church.  Barolo is another stunner, not overrun with tourists considering its name.  But we were more interested in the breadstick manufacturer than wine, where we got a private demo of the breadstick making process.  More spectacular views everywhere we turned, but none perhaps like the drive from Barolo to Serravalle D’alba and our power lunch with the three brothers at Trattoria La Coccinella.  Yet another gem.

After lunch we drove to Serralunga D’Alba to explore the village and take a tour of the castle, one of many in the area including a pretty one viewed from the toilet at Tota Virginia.  Dinner at Schiavenza, another popular local winery

Click here for the of the trip

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Categories: Italy, Piedmont | Tags: , , , , , | 8 Comments

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