There are few experiences as luxurious as indulging in an entire menu dedicated to the rare and delectable Alba truffle.
In an intimate dining room below the 75-year-old Rampoldi restaurant in Monte-Carlo, centuries-old tradition collides skillfully with modernity and creativity at the table of Antonio Salvatore.
As a special treat for guests this year, the Michelin starred chef is offering, alongside his normal menu, eight dishes that celebrate the precious Alba white truffle.
Lauded by gourmands and highly sought after by restaurants around the world, this white truffle grows spontaneously in the woods around Alba in the northwest Italian region of Piedmont. It is also staggeringly expensive. An 850gram Alba truffle recently fetched €75,000 at auction during the international Alba White Truffle Fair in Piedmont. It was brought by Italian chef Umberto Bombana for his three-Michelin star restaurant in Hong Kong.
Dry weather and changing climate patterns have limited production and sent prices soaring this year, which is why Antonio Salvatore’s Alba truffle menu is even more luxurious.
The golden, spongy tuber boasts pleasantly pungent aromas that give way to deep, earthy flavours from its cream-coloured centre. Knowledge of how to best prepare this highly-prized ingredient is generally passed down through the generations.
The Alba truffle’s marriage with egg is well-known, and La Table d’Antonio Salvatore’s slow cooked egg is rich, creamy and comforting, elevated with the texture of finely shredded crispy potatoes, seasonal mushrooms and white truffle.
The chef stays true to the traditions of Piedmont with dishes like homemade Tagliolini pasta and delicate ‘Del Plin’ ravioli served with a roasted meat jus and Parmesan foam.
Snails and soft potato mousse serve as a nod to Italy’s French neighbour, as does the meat tartare, but it is prepared using Fassona, the finest Piedmontese beef.
The Turbot with red wine sauce, fennel and white truffle is a delicate choice ahead of another rich, wintery dish of veal with potato gateau and white truffle.
Beyond truffles, Piedmont is also known for its excellent hazelnuts, and these too dominate the menu, appearing as hazelnut oil or roasted hazelnuts to add texture and further enhance earthy flavours.
To finish, Chef Salvatore recreates the Alba truffle with white chocolate and serves it with Amaretto sabayon and white truffles, in a final show of how versatile this precious tuber can be.
The Alba truffle menu by Antonio Salvatore is an extravagant trip to northern Italy, right in the heart of Monte-Carlo, and it is available until 10th January 2022.