There was so much going on yesterday at the Oxbow, we had to take a day to digest it all (pun intended). The array of truffled foods available from the participating merchants was impressive and extensive! We didn’t get to try it all, but wanted to share with you what we could.
Kitchen Door had a pappardelle pasta with cream sauce, soft poached egg, wild mushroom ragout, and shaved black truffle. The pasta was cooked al dente, and the cream sauce with the mushrooms went well with the abundance of truffles – especially impressive for the price of the dish. The egg was perfect with runny yolk and the white fully cooked.
Their regular menu item was excellent, as well, and we’re happy it’s something we can come back to and order again. With hen of the woods mushrooms, parmesan cream, provolone, mozzarella, rosemary and arugula, it was devoured quickly. Zach says, “If the pasta and pizza were that good, then the rest of the menu must be amazing. This place pays great attention to detail, and you shouldn’t pass it up.”
August loves pretty much all crepes, and La Crepe! gave her one for the record books under the delicious category. The ricotta was infused with truffles and “a touch of honey,” and the tuxedo motif with berry buttons and the White Rabbit’s white chocolate watch were just too cute!
The yuca fries were so incredible, but dear lord, why is your stomach only so big?! At this point we were getting really full – and keep in mind, up until the crepe, we had been sharing between four people! The yuca was so crispy, but so light and fluffy on the inside. Pica Pica Maize Kitchen gave these to us tossed in a creamy aioli with an “over the top black truffle flavor” (as per Zach), and we were so sad not to be able to finish them.
August had had enough at this point, so Zach tried a bite of the Five Dot Ranch truffle item. They prepared a prime rib slider with horseradish aioli and truffle vinaigrette.
With goat cheese and truffled wild mushrooms, C Casa put out some enchiladas that looked delicious. We wanted to take a picture to share with you at least, but we had no room to try any more food so we gave it to another group of happy truffle tasters.
The final meal of our Napa Truffle Festival experience was the truffled pizza from Ca’ Momi Enoteca (we got it to go for the car ride home). This Italian eatery has a masterful chef in the kitchen who himself is also a vintner, as Ca’ Momi has a winery, as well. We got to chat with the pleasant Chef Dario de Conti, born in Italy but California has been lucky to have him for the last ten years. He created this Neapolitan style pizza with organic mozzarella, fontina, white forest mushrooms, and sliced truffles. The pizza was wood-fired, thus the dough was tender yet crisp with a very light smoky flavor. The two cheeses were perfectly paired: one sharp with bite, and the other mild and creamy. The white forest mushrooms went well with the black truffles, so neither overpowered the other.
Overall, the Oxbow was an amazing host to all the truffles and wine, but the day was too short. If you’re going to attend next year, we strongly recommend that you get there as soon as it opens. We didn’t get to try five of the advertised “marketplace highlights” listed in the day’s program, nor did we catch either of the two cooking demos, so four hours wasn’t nearly enough time. Come with a team and a plan of attack so that you can go out to collect items, then have a buffet to share!
The Fatted Calf Charcuterie is one of the places you must promise to visit when you go to Napa. Zach thought this place is a slice out of Europe, like how you picture the old stereotype delis. They had an abundance of cured meats, confits, pates, sausages… there’s just too much stuff to talk about, you have to go yourself! They have a location in San Francisco as well, but here in Napa is where they butcher and process their meat. We came here via the Napa Truffle Festival, as this was one of the restaurants featuring a truffled menu item in the Oxbow Public Market. Fortunately for us, we met co-owner Bailey, who was not only a delight to chat with, but she let us into the kitchen!
Their contribution towards the festival was a truffled pork slider with comte, caramelized onions, arugula, and truffled aioli. These were beyond any kind of slider we’ve tasted before. The meat was tender, juicy, and packed with flavor and a nice crispy sear. The brioche bun was light and delicate, and the comte and onions were a dazzling sweetness paired with the aioli.
If you’re driving through Napa, please please please stop by this place. It is around the corner from the main buildings of the Oxbow Public Market, but often the hidden gems sparkle the most.
What a whirlwind! From Friday through Monday we spoke with many fascinating people over truffles and wine. We shared with you the highlights of the first two days of food at the Napa Truffle Festival, and now we will cover Saturday’s dinner and Sunday’s lunch.
Saturday night was the uber-fancy dinner at La Toque. It started with passed appetizers and champagne before moving to the other four courses at the table, and we had the pleasure of sitting with two other lovely couples. All of the dishes were phenomenal, but the one that stood out the most to us was the second course of duck fat poached salmon. The salmon was beyond delicate, moist, and succulent, “on the borderline of being not cooked but it was, that’s how tender it was,” says Zach. The hedgehog salad was delightful, and the sweetness of the celery root puree was a nice compliment to the whole dish. The truffles were just icing on the cake, so to speak. There was one vegetarian at the table, and her courses looked as fabulous as ours were. Here’s the other courses (and sorry that we snapped only two of the veggie plates):
We slept in on Sunday and skipped the mushroom foraging excursion, but joined the gang at Beringer Vineyards for lunch and a cooking demonstration by Chef Nico Chessa and the Vineyards’ Chef Maurine Sarjeant. We had the delight of learning the recipes of three of the four courses served, and Chef Nico was a wonderful teacher and entertainer.
The second and third days of truffles and wine pairing were overwhelmingly delicious. Thank you, Beringer, for your perfect pairings at our last sit-down together at the Napa Truffle Festival.