If you ask Darrel Truett, executive chef of Barolo Grill, to describe the fragrance -- and taste -- of truffles, he grunts. Loudly. "They're indescribable," he admits. "All I can say is that for two weeks straight, their scent permeates the kitchen, and as soon as I smell them, I make this sound, which I can't explain other than to say it's a rhapsodic grunt."
Last month marked the beginning of white-truffle season, and on Monday night, Barolo Grill, the Northern Italian restaurant in Cherry Creek North, shaved hundreds of the precious fungi, available just a few months a year, almost exclusively from Alba, Italy, as part of its annual truffle festival, a two-week tribute to the luxurious mushroom foraged by prized pigs. Blair Taylor, owner of Barolo Grill, secured five pounds of Alba truffles. Price? A whopping $2,400 a pound. The kitchen is also serving fresh black truffles from Burgundy, a mere $290 a pound; Truett has eight pounds of those stowed away in his kitchen, under lock and key. The truffles from Alba are under a double lock and key. Fresh truffles deserve special privileges.
"It's an honor for me and my staff that Blair goes to Italy every year to get the truffles and then brings them back for all of us to work with. It's the two most exciting weeks of the year for us," says Truett, who's featuring a five-course truffle tasting menu, priced at $135 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity, until November 16 -- and possibly longer if he still has truffles to spare; wine pairings are an additional $49 per person and include some of the Piedmont region's best bottlings.
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Reservations are suggested -- Monday night's dinner sold out -- and while it's a definite splurge, the shower of truffles, shaved tableside, is more than generous. Take our word for it: You absolutely get your money's worth in abundance. For proof, flip through the following photos. Yes, I was lucky enough to spend some time in the kitchen with Truett and his crew as they were prepping for Monday's dinner. And, like Truett, the dishes that I tasted resulted in a series of grunts of ecstasy.