Archive for November, 2010

Market Report #14 – Cold Snap & Salsa

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The Derby Street farmers market was bustling today, in a pre-Thanksgiving-panic sort of way.  But the sun came out and most of our farmers seemed ready for the hordes.  And Maria Catalan was ready with samples of her salsa.  Catalan Farms has just started selling Maria’s own handmade tomato salsa, tomatillo salsa, as well as organic nopales.

Word on the street is that the weather is predicted to turn quite chilly in the next few days and many areas will more than likely see their first freeze.   This means good-bye early girl tomatoes and beans, and hello broccoli, cauliflower, and all those great winter root vegetables.  Unbelievably, Catalan Farm still has strawberries:

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but these are the last of them.  So you’ve got approximately two hours left to get your hands on some before they are gone until next spring.

We’re not done yet…

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The 2010 Truffle Dinners officially ended on Saturday, November 20.  But due to the bounty of truffles this year, we’ll continue to offer a Black Truffle pizza on the Oliveto Cafe dinner menu for the next two weeks.

Dinner service in the Cafe begins nightly at 5:30 pm (and 5:00 pm on Sundays).  The Cafe does not take reservations.

Truffle Report #5 – It’s HUGE

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Here it is, our 604 gram truffle. Found in the south of Tuscany, near Chiusi.

This truffle had been missed by two hunters earlier, but then found by a dog named Jeny. And, to my great honor, Jeny is the daughter of a truffle dog named Bob. And Bob was named after me 12 years ago. He is the 6 week old puppy in my pocket in this video of Giorgio.

It took over an hour for the truffle hunter to dig this truffle out.

2010 Truffle Menu Finalized

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Oliveto Truffle Dinners 2010
November 17 – 20

Antipasti and Salads

Polenta crostini with duck livers, wild snails, and chanterelle mushrooms

Chilled salad of smoked wild sturgeon, Mediterranean mussels, root vegetables, and black truffles

Poached salted farm egg with cardoons, celery, shaved porcini mushrooms, and fonduta Valdostana

Violino di Chiavenna e salsiccia Vicentina cruda: prosciutto of Watson Farm lamb seasoned with juniper & red wine with fresh spiced sausage, truffle and mortadella grissini, and wild mushroom & goat cheese crostino

Spinach and Leek sformatino with scimudin cheese and chives

Carpaccio of Piemontese tenderloin and Geoduck clam with black caviar and black truffle gelée

Continue reading ’2010 Truffle Menu Finalized’

Truffle Report #4 – Time To Get Serious

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I arrived in Chianti last night.  They have just had some significant rain (harder for the dogs to find the truffle) and it is cold (that’s good).   The rain is supposed to have passed by tomorrow, so we are hopeful the ground will dry enough to begin harvesting.

Can’t help but feel a bit nervous about the next few days.  In recent years there have been relatively poor yields that have miraculously turned in our favor during the final few days of my trip.  We’ve been really lucky.

But this is a banner year.   I don’t think I’ve ever seen this many truffles around.  Could it really be this easy?  Or could our luck just as easily turn sour in the eleventh hour?  Not to be melodramatic, but there is still some mystery to all this.

Stay tuned…

Truffle Report #3 – Truffle Pizza with Giorgio

In this year’s World Pizza Championships (watch a ridiculous montage of the 2006 dough tossing competition here) held annually in Salsomaggiore Italy, our tuscan truffle hunter Giorgio Secchini and daughter Denise wowed the judges with their truffle pizza: Pear Marzolo tartufi with pecorino de Pienza, and pecorino de Fossa.

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BTW: for dinner tonight we had a 4 kg wild hare, shot by Giorgio’s son, Samuele.

Truffle Report #2: Pass the Ginkgo Biloba

Making a slight detour to Puglia for some sun, I drove into Cisternino for their Market Day. I’ve been to Cisternino a dozen time, but it is a maze of little streets. And when it was time to leave, I couldn’t find my car. Really. Seriously.
I tried backtracking, then systematic guesses, then wild guesses, then cafe-with-iPhone-map-study. An hour and a half later, I walked into the Polizia station. These fine officers drove me around until we found my Citroën C3.  Believe it or not, I’ve had an easier time finding truffles this year than my own car.

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Truffle Report #1: Why Didn’t We Think of That?

Pizza with tartufi nero

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Camino pizzeria in Neive. The wine list includes many well-priced, single vineyard, well-aged Barbarescos and Barolos. Pizza had fontina and mozzarella, two eggs and fragrant black truffles.  Would have been perfect if it had been made with our whole grain flour.  What an idea.