Mark visits what many consider Florence’s best restaurant, Il Cibreo, to watch perfect eggplant parmigiana magically levitate from pan to table.
One of the world’s most expensive and coveted delicacies, truffles were called “the diamond of the kitchen” by French writer Brillat-Savarin and are prized for their pungent character. But how do you know if you’re getting a good one? Mark travels to the 84th International White Truffle Festival in Alba, Italy, to get the answers. Join him as he interviews official truffle judges and discovers how to tell if a truffle is worth its price.
“Known as the white Alba truffle, Tuber magnatum pico is famous for its distinct aroma and intense, earthy flavor. … The aroma, which is the source of their unique flavor, is lost when the truffles are cooked or over heated.” (Source)
truffles from Alba, Italy
At the World White Truffle Auction today in Alba, Italy, Mark witnesses one of the world’s largest truffles – a massive, “twin truffle” auctioned off for 100,000 euro, which is about $125,000 USD. This “tartufo bianco d’Alba” (white truffle from Alba) weighed a total of 1 kilogram and was purchased by a Hong Kong buyer who participated via satellite. Mark later gets a close up look at this sublime specimen and interviews its keeper, Mauro Carbone, director of the National Center for the Study of Truffles. The charity auction coincides with the heart of truffle season in the Piedmonte region of northwestern Italy and its Annual Alba Truffle Fair.
Featured Truffle: humongous, ultra-knobby, twin truffle weighing in at 1kg sourced by dogs from a secret forest of Alba, Italy – one of the world’s largest
On a little street of Florence, Italy, Mark uncovers an establishment dedicated to both “Vino Sfuso” and actor Johnny Depp.
Rosso Cerretto Guidi (5 euro, with bottle; Italy)
From the Honeysuckle Oyster barge off Martha’s Vineyard, Mark learns to shuck an oyster and then pairs it with an ideal oyster wine. Watch the video above to hear Mark’s suggestions on the best wines to pair with the aphrodisiacal raw oysters.