Mail from Bob Klein, of Oliveto restaurant.
We are about to leave for our truffle trip. Here's a press release on our truffle dinners. Call for reservations at 510-547-5356
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Oliveto Restaurant Forecasts "Truffle Intemperance" at Annual Dinners
Heavy Rains Result in Banner Harvest of Italian White Truffles
Oliveto Truffle Dinners Scheduled for November 12 - 15
OAKLAND, Calif. (October 2002) - According to co-owner Bob Klein, Oliveto Restaurant, the celebrated showcase for chef Paul Bertolli's James Beard Award-winning fare, always takes on a special glow during the annual Italian White Truffle Dinners. Perhaps it's the overwhelming aroma of the "tartufo bianco" combined with Bertolli's magnificent menu pairings, or, as some believe, the pheromones in the air, but whatever it is, Klein expects it could jump off the chart this year.
"Our sources throughout Northern Italy are reporting that truffles are both plentiful and cheap, and the quality is superb. Prices have plummeted," reported Klein. "As with truffles any year, this is a situation that can change day-to-day. More prolonged heavy rains, for instance, could make it impossible for the dogs and soak the truffles. But we're off to a very good start."
The price drop makes it possible for Chef Bertolli to offer dishes less practical when truffles are $3,000 per pound. Among the dishes planned for this year's White Truffle Dinners are: Spit-roasted Farm Hen with Truffles stuffed under the skin, Tartufati (yeast buns slathered with truffle butter), Truffled Pigeon Risotto, Poached Truffled Sausages, Wild Mushrooms roasted in coals with White Truffles, and Truffed Endive Fonduta of Parmigiano.
Klein has made the annual trek to the Italian countryside - often accompanied by Bertolli or co-owner Maggie Klein -- to confer, negotiate, and hunt with his circle of confidantes among the tartufai who drop everything around this time of year to take up their real passion: truffle hunting.
There is a maxim that a good truffle year means a bad wine year, noted Klein, and while the heavy rains that have fallen in the late summer may have played hob with Italy's grape harvest, truffle fanciers have reason to celebrate.
"The one nagging drawback to the full, unencumbered enjoyment of truffles in recent years has been the cost," said Klein. "There's always that little sting that goes with eating 'the world's most expensive delicacy.' But with the sting abated, I think we're going to see some memorable evenings here at Oliveto during the Truffle Dinners."
In order to assure the finest and freshest truffles for Oliveto's kitchen, Klein and Bertolli for several years have journeyed to Italy's prime white truffle fields - principally the mixed forests of oak, poplar, and other compatible trees in Piedmont, Romagna, Umbria and Tuscany - in search of the rare tuber magnatum pico.
"Freshness is the key to enjoying the remarkable perfume of white truffles," said Bertolli. "Bob and I have found that the only reliable way to provide this heady experience to Oliveto's tables is to bring the truffles back ourselves."
White truffles are generally served raw, shaved over food, and diners at Oliveto pay by the gram according to the amount consumed. According to Chef Bertolli, truffles are best paired with dishes rich enough to stand up to the truffle's pungent aroma, but uncomplicated enough not to distract from the truffle experience.
Oliveto is located at Oakland's Rockridge Market Hall at 5655 College Avenue. The restaurant offers lunch and dinner seven days a week from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m.. to 9:00 p.m. The full restaurant menu is available in the Cafe during lunch and throughout the evening hours. For reservations please call (510) 547-5356. Major credit cards are accepted and parking is available in the Market Hall lot.Posted by shock on October 20, 2002 | TrackBack