Wine Pairing Story
One Precious Kilogram…Le Méridien-Montparnasse, Paris.
Is there something more delicate and intensely aromatic than a truffle ? The retail price of the real thing, the “Périgord truffle” (Tuber melanosporum) is about 1000 Euro a kilogram in France, but the good restaurants can’t escape it, because the cheaper Chinese varieties of truffles are so tasteless that they can’t compete in terms of flavor and intensity. But you can do so much with less than a Périgord truffle that it’s worth the costs. The tiny black tubercle known under the Appellation name of Black Truffle of Périgord can be found not only in the Périgord region (in South-Western France), but also in Provence, in the Lubéron, as well as in Italy and Spain.
I spent a couple of hours in the kitchens of Montparnasse 25, the one-star restaurant of the Méridien Hotel in Paris, to see how chef Christian Moine prepares 3 dishes with less than a single black truffle.
The first surprise was to see for real a one-kilogram stack of these precious black truffles [picture above]. I try to visualize these dogs and pigs sniffing for the truffle’s aromatic signature in the wild… There’s another strange thing about the truffle, it is the aspect and patterns of its inside, that you can see on these thin slices on the left, and which evoke the human brain. Chef Moine then chooses one of them to prepare the dishes : here is a typical 5-centimeter tubercle which weighs exactly 26 grams on the kitchen’s precision scale.
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