Thursday, December 07, 2006
A Night in Umbria with my First Truffle
Shaved onto a delicately scrambled egg, my first truffle tasted like dirt. That’s not quite right—let’s try this: it tasted of earth—the earthiest, woodsiest, richest fungus I’ve had. Luckily for her, the woman waiting in line behind me looked a bit like my grandma, or I wouldn’t have had any qualms about blocking her access and stealing her plate of truffled eggs.
This truffle came to me by way of my friend Kelly, who generously invited J and I to an Umbria tasting tour sponsored by various Italian trade promoters at the Sunset Tower Hotel. Umbria, the only landlocked region of Italy, has plenty of gustatory treasures to share with the world; in addition to the truffles we sampled regional cheese, pasta and artisanal olive oils. However, the centerpiece of the event was the region’s wine.
Our favorite discussion was with a representative of Vino Bravo wines, who passionately outlined his company’s vision when we stopped at his table: they only import wines made from grapes indigenous to Italy. They focuses on small producers and grapes the likes of which a wine neophyte like myself has never heard of, and bring them to many restaurants and stores in the Los Angeles area and elsewhere. At this table we sampled Antonelli's Sagrantino di Montefalco and Montefalco Rosso, a Sagrantino blend; read more about the robust Sagrantino grape here.
This event was part of a wider promotion by trade officials from Umbria that continues across the city through the 15th. You can find special Umbrian-focused menus at Ago, Caffe Roma, Drago, Enoteca Drago, Grace, Il Grano, La Botte, La Terza, Piccolo Ristorante, Patina, Sor Tino, Valentino and Wilson.