After spending the summer in Canada and cocooning for a few days to work on my jet lag, I finally surfaced to have tea and a “catch up” chat with Britt, my wonderful friend from Sweden whom I met at French class a few years ago.
We took tea at Monaco’s Place d’Armes Market and after we parted ways, I poked around to see what had changed there while I was abroad. In the spring when I’d left Monaco for Canada, renovations for a “new market concept” were under way and the place was a bit of a noisy, dusty mess.
Some of my friends have remarked that the new indoor market resembled a food court more than a market but in true Monaco style, this food court means fine French cheeses, charcuterie, a pâtisserie, a boulangerie and a stand up bar with the locals drinking rosé wine and eating sandwiches at 10 in the morning.
I was just happy to see that over the summer the dust had cleared to reveal a pleasant surprise: a new, fine Italian food shop called the Truffle Gourmet. Even better, they’re carrying fine Italian goodies from the San Maurizio Gourmet.
When I first spotted them at the Monte Carlo Salon Gastronomie two years ago they had high brand recognition with us. Hubby and I have been frequent guests at their blissfully indulgent resort and spa, the Relais San Maurizio nestled in a restored monastery on a hilltop overlooking manicured Barolo vineyards about 23 kilometres from Alba. It’s the best place to roost during Alba’s famous annual Truffle Festival.
As vegetarians, we ate memorably well in their stunning Michelin-starred restaurant, Guido da Costigliole. My thought was since the San Maurizio Gourmet’s rare and delicious products were created from the same high quality ingredients that they served to us in their restaurant, I’d be happy to buy their products and tell others.
At the new Truffle Gourmet stand in the market, I met the helpful and engaging Mr Niccolo Sironi who told me about this year’s truffle harvest (a bad year, not enough rain) and that they cost about the same this year as last (€4,500 per kilo) and then we debated the merits of white vs black, French vs Italian.
If the price of white truffles is a bit too rich for your blood but you’d still like to take part in Trufflemania, for a fraction of the price, you may want to try some of their white truffle pasta. After you cook it, coat it in butter, sprinkle on some shaved Parmesan and serve it with a bottle of Piedmontese like a Barolo or a Barbaresco. Bob’s your uncle!
I’m not sure if it’s a translation issue or if they intended it, but the heading on the Truffle Gourmet’s home page reads, “Born in Monaco the First Principality of Truffle.”
They may want to tell the Prince!