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Element 47 Hosts White Truffle Dinner

Squab Tortellini and black truffle paired with Nebbiolo, Produttori del Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy, 2008
Chef Patrick Dunn & Sommelier Chris Dunaway of The Little Nell –

“No ingredients inspire us more than white truffles, a rare impact for a once-a-year treat.” — The Little Nell Culinary Director Matt Zubrod

A four-course menu, curated by Culinary Director Matthew Zubrod, will feature truffles from Alba, Piedmont.
The Little Nell/Courtesy photo

Humans have been enjoying truffles — a fungus that grows underground at the base of certain trees — for thousands of years throughout the Middle East and Europe, with the earliest mention in neo-Sumerian inscriptions describing the Amorites’ eating habits.

Those truffles were not what we know as European forest truffles but, instead, desert truffles, which were tasteless compared to the current black truffle of France and the white truffle of Italy.



The white truffle gained popularity in the 14th century during the Italian Renaissance, when an appreciation for good food was prominent. Later, in 1949, to promote the Italian white truffle, which did not have the international popularity of black truffles, Italian restaurateur and hotelier Giacomo Morra, from Alba, Piedmont, sent the best truffles of the year to celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Winston Churchill, and Pope Paul IV.

His campaign worked. High-end restaurants around the world began importing white truffles, which are now considered more fragrant and flavorful with an earthy umami flavor than the French black truffle — and happen to be wildly more expensive, especially those found in Alba in the Piedmont region of Italy.




Squab Tortellini and black truffle paired with Nebbiolo, Produttori del Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy, 2008
The Little Nell/Courtesy photo

What makes white truffles so rare is that they can’t be cultivated. They emerge from the soil organically only one season a year, and you need dogs or pigs to hunt them down in the wild.

If you feel like indulging in this ancient treat to kick off your holiday winter season, Element 47 at The Little Nell is hosting its inaugural White Truffle Dinner on Saturday. The four-course menu, curated by Culinary Director Matthew Zubrod, will feature truffles from Alba, Piedmont, complemented by wine pairings selected by the sommelier team led by Chris Dunaway. 

Wine Director Chris Dunaway will pair complementary wines with each course.
The Little Nell/Courtesy photo

Truffle season signals the holiday offering of specialty menus to enjoy this savory and rare delicacy, which continues to be regarded as a premium ingredient from Italy. Winter white truffles are collected between October and early January, with the festive season as the prime time to serve and enjoy them. 

Menu offerings include Tuna Carpaccio with crispy potato, Belper Knolle and Parmesan Risotto, Turbot with Celery Root, Fume and Mont Blanc Chestnut Dessert.

The Little Nell is offering a limited number of seats on the top row of Element 47, which is decorated for the holidays.

Reservations are available 6-9:30 p.m., and pricing is $500-plus per person. To reserve a seat, call 970.920.6331 or email diningreservations@thelittlenell.com.

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