Less than a fortnight ago, I returned from an eight-day jaunt to Paris, France. As we all know, Paris is one of those food “meccas” I’ve mentioned in past posts. Since the amount of photos, restaurants, and general food related goodness is just massive, I decided the best way to tackle the documentation would be to split it up into pieces. Think of it as a tasting menu of Paris itself. I figure I’ll start with the best first, just to shake things up, the incomparable Maison de la Truffe. Enjoy.
A strange irony exists in the world of gourmet cuisine. Born from the unsavory beginnings that many of the most highly sought after foods share. Take truffles for example, small, knobby, black tubers that grow underground and are up-rooted from the soil by the snouts of pigs and dogs. Yet, they demand a staggering price at fine restaurants around the world. One of these, Maison de la Truffe in Paris, builds it’s reputation around the filthy growths. The old cliché, “the diamond in the rough” comes to mind when a stunning plate of burrata and heirloom tomatoes with copious amounts of shaved white truffles was placed before me.
The chefs at Maison de la Truffe daily transform little lumps of earthy fungi , into some of the most diabolically delicious dishes one can find. Every plate on the menu can include truffles if desired. Choices range from seasonal truffles, black Melanosporum, or white Alba truffles. This also causes the price to balloon from about $35 to almost $100 for the same dish depending on the tuber of your choice. Maison de Truffe has many of the traditional standbys of French cuisine (albeit buried in truffles) like Tartare de Boeuf (which Ashley had and was amazing), Filet of Sole, and Steak Frites. However, the real treat comes from the strange and surprising combinations they have come up with. For instance, a truffle gazpacho with cucumber sorbet, or a truffled crème brulée, which had the most intense truffle flavor and blended perfectly with the vanilla, both were unspeakably delicious. The latter seems to cross some sort of imaginary boundary but is possibly the most delicious crème brulée one can find.
Also on the menu for the night was a Risotto covered in white Alba truffles, Ravioli with summer truffles and truffle cream, and Tagliatelle with white Alba truffles and truffle cream. Needless to say, not a single morsel of truffle was left on the plate.
Establishments like Maison de la Truffe represent the reprehensible and sometimes downright disgusting origins of our most luxuriant food items. Whether humans are drawn to food with humble beginnings or pigs have impeccable taste, one can be sure that truffles will always be on the menu.