Match of the week | Fonduta with truffles and Nebbiolo

Match of the week

Fonduta with truffles and Nebbiolo

The last few days I’ve been eating and drinking my way around Piedmont - the perfect time of year as the region’s fabled white truffles are in season.

Generally they are served as simply as possible so as not to disguise their heady, exotic flavour - the two most common ways are shaving them over a rich egg pasta called tajarin or serving them with eggs but I had a really wonderful dish at the one Michelin-starred restaurant La Ciau del Tornavento just outside Alba which showed them off to perfection.

The base was cardoons (cardi), a celery-like vegetable with a faintly artichoke-like taste which is very popular in the region, topped with a rich fonduta (fondue) of Taleggio and the local Castelmagno cheese. Truffles were shaved lavishly over the top.

Normally you’d think of drinking white wine with fondue but here they pretty well always serve it - and truffles - with some kind of Nebbiolo such as Barolo, Barbaresco or, the wine we enjoyed with it, the less-well known Roero (my companion, who lived in the Roero area picked a 2001 Roche d’Ampsej from Matteo Correggia).

What makes the match work is the marked acidity of these wines, the absence of intrusive tannins and the cool room temperature - 17° - 18° C, I would guess - at which they typically serve them (The standard of wine service in the region is outstanding.)

I’ve also had a few other thoughts on matching wine with truffles so I’ll be posting those shortly.

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