That, my friends, is a truffle. A glorious, earthy, and very, very french truffle. It's the heart of one of my favorite gluten free holiday traditions: trufflepalooza. Now, I'm not sure that you can technically call something a tradition when you've only done it once, but I'm swearing to you right now that I will keep this fabulous tradition up no matter what happens. Truffles every year in the month of December, I say!
These tasty little guys are harvested in the late fall and early winter by hogs (recently, dogs too, but that's not nearly as romantic) in Europe, primarily France. Friends of ours were lucky enough to travel to France last year during the height of truffle season to experience the great truffle sale. Truffle mongers were auctioning their goods in a farmers' market type setting in a small town in France on a street named after--you guessed it, truffles! This year, we huddled around a Mac to view the pictures from last year's truffle adventure while our very own trufflepalooza was being simmered, stirred, and shaved onto our plates. That Northern Californian kitchen has never smelled so good. Well, maybe during dungeness crab season, but I digress.
Since truffles have such a unique and decadent flavor, they are best used on simple dishes to highlight their truffleness, for the lack of a better term. I loved every single dish that the trufflepalooza chefs (my cousin and his catering chef of a neighbor) put together for its seeming simplicity yet complexity of flavors. And, of course, because I am fairly certain that I would not have attempted this at home. However, I am willing to attempt truffle feats in my very tiny kitchen so that Trufflepalooza continues year after fabulous year. Though I don't think anyone will be turning away from this gluten free, decadent, and heavenly holiday tradition.
Trufflepalooza 2008 : "They must serve truffles in heaven"
Assorted cheeses (with truffles, of course)
Homemade Spanish olives
Black truffle risotto
Braised pork shoulder with black truffles
Chocolate mousse with creme anglaise and pistachios
Happy Holidays! Here's to making a new gluten free tradition with you and your loved ones this year.