“The truffles themselves have been interrogated, and have answered simply; eat us and praise the Lord.”
19th century French author Alexandre Dumas—the man who brought us The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo—wrote those words. And those words have been embraced by the organizers of the 2nd annual Napa Truffle Festival, who include them on the homepage of the festival’s website.
That event is scheduled for January 13-16, with most of the program unfolding at the Westin Verasa in downtown Napa.
There will be a breakfast featuring keynote speaker Barbara Fairchild (former editor of Bon Appetit magazine), a cooking class with a Michelin star chef, a truffle lunch at La Toque, a truffle orchard tour, seminars, a truffles-and-wine dinner and much more. You can find all of the details on the website.
According to the organizers, the festival will focus on black truffles and, in particular, the winter Perigord truffle. You can read about that variety, and get a quick truffle primer, here.
Why a truffle festival right in the heart of wine country? Well, mushrooms and vino can be quite compelling culinary partners.
I have to be honest with you (actually, I don’t… but I always will): I am not a huge fan of mushrooms/truffles.
That said, there are certain mushroom-and-wine pairings that I absolutely love. These are cases where I would not eat the mushrooms by themselves, but paired with a specific type of wine, I could gobble them up as if they were candy.
Of course, everyone has a unique palate, and yours may be far different from mine. But if you’d like to try some truffle-and-wine pairings, here are a few ideas…
- Pair earthy mushrooms with earthy wines. Examples would be Red Burgundy (known as Pinot Noir in America) or Nebbiolo.
- Pair mild mushrooms in a white or buttery sauce with a buttery Chardonnay or, if you’d prefer sparkling wine, a nice Blanc de Blancs.
- Pair a mushroom-topped pizza with an Italian Chianti, a California Sangiovese, or a French Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
But, as with all food and wine, don’t be afraid to do some experimenting. A big part of the fun of food-and-wine pairing is personal discovery.
Do you have a favorite wine match for mushrooms? We’d love to hear about it in the comments box below.