A scent of truffles

By Ian Bartholomew  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Nov 22, 2012 - Page 12

November is the peak season for that most highly valued food, the white truffle, a not particularly attractive subterranean mushroom that is esteemed for its remarkable aroma and flavor. These culinary qualities, along with its high price, has made it a particular favorite in Taiwan, and many five star hotels make a special effort to showcase this product each year with inventive new presentations.

The Sheraton Taipei’s Antoine Room restaurant provides a formal dining environment in which to enjoy a special white truffle menu created by chef Hsu Han-chia (許漢家) that includes Pomfret tartar and Japanese Toyoma white shrimps salad with white truffle, pan-seared goose liver with white truffle honey sauce, French leek soup “Cappuccino” style with white truffle, grilled Australian wagyu rib-eye steak served with white truffle risotto and truffle sauce. The meal is finished off with white truffle creme brulee, white truffle ice cream in a set menu that costs NT$12,800. That should provide even the most inveterate truffle junkie with a solid fix of truffle infused dishes.

It goes without saying that all of these dishes are made from top quality ingredients that are given the truffle treatment, but among all the delicious ingredients it is nice to note the use of A8 grade Australian beef, which presents a mix of deep marbling and solid texture.

Contact The Sheraton at (02) 2321-1818 for reservations.

Another hotel that is going all out with truffles is the Grand Victoria Hotel (維多麗亞酒店), whose La Festa restaurant boasts an executive chef from Piedmont, the home of the white truffle.

Igor Macchia has created three set menus all aimed at showcasing white truffles from Alba in Piedmont, regarded as having the best truffles in the world, and which the hotel says currently retails for around NT$800 per gram.

The set menus start at NT$2,600 for four courses, NT$4,800 for six courses and NT$8,800 for eight courses — the last including four glasses of wine. Macchia has paired white truffles with a variety of ingredients, including beef, fish and seafood, as well as a classic Italian risotto.

These set menus will be available until Nov. 25. Contact La Festa at (02) 6602-5671 for reservations.