Photos: Barolo Grill unleashes its annual truffle feast

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'Tis the season of decadence at Barolo Grill, Blair Taylor's lovely Italian restaurant in Cherry Creek North that, each year, bestows truffles upon Denver diners during its two-week truffle festival, an annual tribute to fresh black Burgundy truffles and the fall harvest of the coveted -- and far more expensive -- Alba white truffle, the pungently musky fungi that's unearthed from the soil around the hilly, forested town that's Italy's truffle capital.

See also: - Darrel Truett, exec chef of Barolo Grill, on bacon everything, truffles and "Insalata 21, 31, 41, 51" - Round two with Darrel Truett, exec chef of Barolo Grill

"Our truffle dinners are the two weeks a year when there are no rules when it comes to the menu," says Darrel Truett, Barolo Grill's executive chef. "I make the menus, and it's up to me to showcase the truffles the best why I know how" -- shaved on braised veal cheeks, infused in jus or crowning a bowl of tiny pasta pillows swathing fonduta, for example. "Not a lot of places in town get to work with white truffles, so it's exciting to have them in the kitchen" adds Truett, who notes that their scent perfumes everything from the walk-in to the dining room.

Barolo's truffle dinners began last week, and this week, you can continue to take advantage of the odoriferous tubers via a five-course tasting menu, the dishes of which are all generously shaved with Italy's prized -- and precious -- black and white diamonds. "If you haven't experiences a white truffle, it's going to blow you away," promises Truett.

The fixed price truffle menu is $135 per person, excluding tax and gratuity, and each course can be paired with some stunning wines from Italy's Piedmont region, which is dominated by its big, bold Barolo wines.

Reservations are still being accepted, and while it's a pricey splurge, consider it an early Christmas present. And if you need more incentive to spoil yourself, take a journey through the menu, which I was fortunate enough to experience -- and capture in photos -- last week.

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