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Truffles… "Great ladies" in brown or white, with complex personalities.
Those enigmatic little nuggets that we call truffles in fact grow in four different varieties, each one with a very distinct flavour. There is the black winter truffle (Tuber rnelanosporum), the summer truffle (Tuber aestivum) and two types of autumn truffles, the Burgundy truffle (Tuber uncinatum) and the white truffle (Tuber magnatum).
Out of season, truffles are available whole, sliced or as parings in tins (the words ‘première ébullition’ (blanching) on the packaging are a guarantee of aroma). Fresh truffles freeze well in vacuum-packed; dried truffles may be stored in a sterilised, air-tight jar.
Truffles… Champagne… The mere mention of these two "stars" of the table conjures up images of celebration and the pleasures of the flesh, moments of unforgettable luxurious indulgence. But what in reality are the qualities that link this captivating little nugget torn from the soil and a wine that is the symbol of lightness itself?
Black truffles (Tuber melanosporum): choose rich powerful, vinous Champagne wines with definite structure, perhaps even an astringent or tannic quality and an energetic personality, such as Blancs de noirs (based on Pinot noir and/or meunier) Champagne or mature Champagne preferably vintage or even, aged in the intimacy of the wood. Foods with crisp and warm ‘oiIy', strong textures (butter, cream, milk, flour) go beautifully with these wines of Champagne.
Summer and Burgundy truffles (Tuber aestivum and Tuber uncinatum) these go well with refined, tender, suave Champagnes with a smooth and rounded texture. Choose young blancs de noirs based on Pinot noir or meunier, ones that have been set aside for shorter periods than those you would combine with black truffles.
Maturation on lees brings out the mellow, oily texture of the wine. Champagne aged in the wood strikes the right chords as its wooded notes develop into smooth, creamy substance on the palate. These wines go beautifully with recipes based on pasta, sauces, cream and butter. The harmony reaches its apogee with those sweet tasting, creamy desserts, fragrant with vanilla, that go so well with truffles.
White truffles (Tuber magnatum) prefer vintage blanc de blancs Champagne or the one predominantly based on Chardonnay that achieves a subtle balance of substance and freshness. Long periods of ageing on lees endow them with an extra sensory dimension, complexity and an even more unique taste.
Foods that have at certain smoothness and depth of aroma also combine to fabulous effect with the freshness and delicate vinosity of vintage rose Champagne that is predominantly based on Chardonnay grapes.
Serves 5 - lngredients : 60 g butter, 80 g caster sugar, 200 g coquillettes (little pasta shells), 30 cl single cream, 1 Burgundy truffle per person (approx. 30 to 40g).
Cocktail parties are moments of leisurely conviviality, often designed to whet the appetite before lunch and dinner. For that reason, no matter how many snacks you choose to serve, they must always be light.
Champagne wines are perfect apéritifs but it is important to know which Champagne and what foods to serve with them.
Fresh, lively, invigorating blanc de blancs Champagne, based on chardonnay grapes, and non vintage brut Champagne are ideal for the occasion. They offer a particular combination of freshness and succulence, vivifying lightness of texture, fruity delicacy and zest of citrus, They tantalise the taste buds without "overloading" the sense of taste.
The best appetizers are fresh—tasting "nibbles" that match the qualities of Champagne:
Rose Champagne is also delicious as an aperitif particularly rose Champagne whose soft, silky textures and fresh, discreet aromas express the predominance of the Chardonnay grape.
They are ideal with
Rosé Champagne mainly based on black grapes (Pinot noir or meunier), combine gorgeous structure on the palate with a roundness, smoothness and characteristic “mellowness" that are the very quintessence of fruit.
They will combine with
Many of the snacks traditionally served with the aperitif - peanuts, roasted almonds and other nuts, olives, crisps and other nibbles with strong flavours-are too salty, smoky or greasy to do justice to the subtle, delicate bouquet of Champagne.