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Top Pick Of The Week

November 8, 2005

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Truffle Butter - D'artagnan

Slather up: You probably wouldn’t use this much truffle butter on a piece of bread, but we get so excited by the flavor and aroma of those big pieces of truffle. Front, D’Artagnan White Truffle Butter. Rear, Black Truffle Butter. Photo by Melody Lan.

D’Artagnan Truffle Butter:
Everyday Luxury


Little things can make a huge difference. In the world of fine food, D’Artagnan Truffle Butter is one of the little things that can elevate and transform almost everything you eat.

Most people think that truffles are out of their league, and at up to $2,000 a pound, depending on the year’s harvest, there’s not much of an argument. Currently, black truffles can run at least $55 an ounce and white truffles three times that or more. As with other rare luxury foods like Caspian caviar, those who are captivated by their unique flavor feel that the occasional treat is worth it.

Fortunately, the gourmets at D’Artagnan, the nation’s leading purveyor of foie gras, pâtés and other goodies we adore, make black and white truffle butters loaded with big truffle pieces, bearing heady aromas and flavors that are pretty close to having a whole fungus. And the price of entry to the feast is less than $10. Resistance is futile.

 

INDEX

 

Not being a trust-fund foodie, nevertheless we can eat like one with these sleights of hand—and dishes that take just minutes to prepare:

  • Pasta With Truffles. No fresh truffle to shave on your linguini? No matter. Toss it with a spoonful of D’Artagnan Truffle Butter and it looks (and tastes) like a million. 
  • Truffled Potatoes. Toss new potatoes in their jackets with some truffle butter. Or, make yourself a baked potato and add a pat. Heaven awaits.
  • Three-Star Sauce. Just add truffle butter to your reduction and tell swooning guests it’s a secret recipe handed down through generations of family via Escoffier.
  • Everyday Luxury. You deserve a daily truffle on your daily bread. We serve truffle butter with bread at breakfast (amazing on toast), lunch (on baguette), and dinner (ditto). 

In fact, we no longer use “regular” butter—only exciting butters. There will be more about that in a future NIBBLE, but in the interim, here are more ways to use D’Artagnan Truffle Butters:

  • Breakfast: Scramble eggs in truffle butter.
  • Lunch: Spread some on bread to ennoble ham, turkey, or beef. Add a spoonful to redefine onion or celery soup.
  • Cocktails: Butter thin slices of baguette. Add a piece of baby arugula or curly cress and top with a poached scallop or crab meat. Or “go country” with a small slab of ham.
  • Dinner: Make truffle mashed potatoes—guaranteed to get people to agree to whatever you want, in exchange for seconds. Swirl some in your risotto. Dab it on scallops, fish, lobster, vegetables. Go over-the-top and butter corn-on-the-cob. Proceed at your own risk.
truffle pasta
A week doesn’t go by that we don’t enjoy a plate of pasta with D’Artagnan truffle butter. Simple to make, it’s elegant enough to be the food of kings. Shown above: Black Truffle Butter with Barilla spaghetti.
  • Recreate a Classic: Put a pat of truffle butter on a filet mignon and have Tournedos Rossini “Light.” (The original dish requires slices of fresh black truffle atop the filet, plus Sauce Périgueux, made with the rest of the black truffle.)

Garlic, onion, chives, leek, celery, celery root and Parmesan enhance the flavor of truffles. Classic French dishes pair them with scallops, crayfish, foie gras, asparagus and—yes—cabbage. You’ll find lots to do with these butters.

The Black Truffle Butter is made with creamery butter plus black truffles; black truffle oil and truffle juice for flavoring; and soy sauce, which enriches the color of the truffle pieces and adds a barely discernable amount of saltiness. The White Truffle Butter has porcini mushroom as the primary fungus, plus white Alba truffle and white March truffle (Tuber Magnatum Pico and Tuber Albidum Pico—read more about them in the yellow box below). It also includes soy sauce, white truffle flavor, and salt.

While the White Truffle Butter is tasty and has good truffle aroma, the Black Truffle Butter has the more profound truffle flavor. Plus, the black truffle pieces are showier. As you can see in the photo below, the buff-colored white truffle pieces fade into the butter (or the pasta, or the sauce). We prefer the Black Truffle Butter overall, but encourage you to try both and find your own preference. 

A Bit About Truffles

  • Perhaps the most well-known truffle is the winter black truffle, Tuber Melanosporum Vitt., more famous as the Périgord truffle or “truffe du Périgord.” It is found in southern France, and in some parts of Spain and Italy. It reaches maturity between December 1 and March 31. The aroma and taste are earthy: of forest undergrowth, damp earth, and roasted dry fruits—and it has a long and memorable aftertaste.
  • The summer black truffle, Tuber Aestivum (truffe d’été), found in southern France, Spain and Italy, tends to be larger and tougher than the Melanosporum, with a taste of forest mushrooms and a subtle aroma of underwood. Its season is May 1 through September 30.
  • There are two other notable black truffles in the region. The Tuber Brumale, harvested between November 1 and March 15 on the same sites as the Melanosporum, smells of turnip nuanced with garlic and tastes very peppery and characteristically turnip-like. The Tuber Uncinatum Chatin, called the Bourgogne, is closely related to the Tuber Aestivum. It is found in the Dordogne between October 1 and December 31, and has a chocolate smell and taste.
  • Tuber Magnatum Pico, also known as the white truffle, the Alba white truffle or “truffe blanche du Piemont,” is found from October 1 through December 31 in the Piedmont and Emilia Romagna regions of Italy. The skin is smooth and shows yellow-grey coloration; the flesh has a light whitish-reddish-brownish cast with white veins. Its aroma is reminiscent of garlic, shallot and cheese. It is only consumed raw, usually shaved over pasta or rice. It loses all flavor when cooked.
  • Tuber Albidum Pico, also known as the March truffle, the Tuscan truffle, the blanquette or bianchetti truffle, and marzuolo truffle, has a sharp taste when raw. But when added to oil or butter, their flavor becomes very much like the prized Tuber Magnatum Pico. The season is from January 10 through April 30.
  • Truffles grow throughout the world: China, Africa, New Zealand and Oregon have wild truffles, but they lack the aroma and flavor of the top varieties from France, Spain and Italy. In fact, there are more than 30 varieties of truffle in Europe, but only five or so have savory qualities.
  • While sky-high to begin with, the price of fresh truffles varies greatly among varieties, and from one year to the next, depending on the size of the harvests. Typically, the Melanosporum may cost five times more that the Brumale, Uncinatum or Aestivum. The Magnatum is the costliest: it can be four times more expensive than the Melanosporum. If you’d like to learn more about truffles, we’ve recommended two books below.
                                               LEARN MORE ABOUT TRUFFLES
                                           Read our Truffle Overview & Glossary
                                              including gorgeous truffle photos.

The D’Artagnan truffle butters are sold in 3-ounce and 6-ounce tubs and in 1-pound logs. The logs are dazzling for party buffets; the small tubs make memorable party favors (whether or not you’ve used truffle butter in your dinner party recipes, include a list of suggested uses).

If you are feeling too conservative to buy a fresh truffle, on a budget in general or specifically lacking the $500 (or ability to get a reservation) for a truffle dinner at your local temple of haute cuisine, weep not. You have $10. You are one overnight delivery away from reveling in the joys of D’Artagnan Truffle Butter: the ultimate comfort food for foodies, a product you will never want to be without.

— Karen Hochman

FORWARD THIS NIBBLE to your gourmet friends and to anyone deserving of introduction to great affordable gastronomy.

D’ARTAGNAN TRUFFLE BUTTER

Black Truffle Butter and White Truffle Butter

Click on the links above to purchase.

Prices are verified at publication but are subject to change. Shipping is additional.

The truffle butters also are available at fine specialty stores.

An 8-ounce tub of Black Truffle Butter is also available at DArtagnan.com, as well as a larder full of wonderful foie gras, patés, sausages, smoked delicacies, organic game and poultry.

truffle butter log

Above, a one-pound log sliced and ready for a party, along with a three-ounce and six-ounce tub. Below, spread on bread—one of our favorite ways to enjoy this affordable delicacy every day.
black and white truffles

learn more about truffles

 

Truffles   Caviar, Truffles and Foie Gras
Truffles: Ultimate Luxury, Everyday Pleasure, by Rosario Safina and Judith Sutton. The history, types of truffles and truffle products plus 100 simple and delicious recipes for the home cook: soups, appetizers, entrees, et al.  The recipes can be used everyday as well as for special occasions; and the explanation of truffle types and guidelines on buying are extremely useful, especially for the more affordable products like truffle butter and truffle cheese. Click here for more information or to purchase.
 

Caviar, Truffles, and Foie Gras: Recipes for Divine Indulgence, by
Katherine Alford. A well-researched introduction to each of these luxury foods, along with recipes for every course. Executive sous-chef at a top restaurant, Alford’s recipes range from the indulgent to those which use modest amounts of the costly ingredients for big impact. A valuable addition to any cookbook collection. Click here for more information or to purchase.

 

 

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