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Winter’s Treasure: Black Truffles

January 2017

Winter is truffle season in northeastern Spain and southwestern France, where the famous black truffle (tuber melanosporum) grows wild at the base of oak and hazelnut trees. Truffles are the jewel of the mushroom world, prized for their earthy, savory aroma and powerful flavor. Famous French gastronome Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin called truffles “the diamond of the kitchen,” and they have been prized by chefs throughout history and around the world for their ephemeral, haunting nature.

José loves to use black winter truffles right at the peak of their season, when their aroma is most potent. The lifespan of a truffle is short – from the moment it is plucked from the soil, it should be enjoyed within a few weeks for its true character to shine. Luckily, José has good friends in the truffle world! José’s friend Nacho Ramírez Monfort has a team of Labrador Retrievers to help him harvest the knobby fungi from the roots of oak trees and hazelnut trees in Spain’s Northeastern Aragon region, which he then brings directly to José's restaurants to celebrate the start of the season. Watch Nacho talk about the importance of truffle freshness.

Now José is excited to bring these fresh truffles to the People of America! This winter, you can find truffles featured on menus on both coasts. In Washington, DC, his restaurants will host their first annual Truffle Festival from February 13-26, featuring truffles, truffles, and more truffles! At Jaleo in Washington, Bethesda, and Crystal City, and at Oyamel, Zaytinya, China Chilcano, and barmini, there will be special truffle menus showing off José’s favorite truffle dishes, including Zaytinya’s Truffle Pide, a Turkish-style pizza topped with loads of shaved black truffle; Oyamel’s Tortitas de Papa con Trufas, potato fritters with Mexican crema and black truffles; and many more. 

In Beverly Hills, SAAM will hosts its 5th annual Black Truffle Dinner Series in the chef’s private tasting room. The 16-course sensory experience will highlight the unique flavor palette of the black truffle, pairing it with playful imagination and the inventive gastronomic vision of José’s culinary team. Make reservations here.