December 13, 2016
Years ago, the truffle trend was declared 'over,' but a look at local menus shows it's still popular
Winter’s chill gives everyone permission to indulge in the savory, soul-warming dishes on local menus. There's just no better way to warm up after a day on the slopes. Black truffles, in particular, offer a seasonal decadence — they're harvested from late autumn to winter — that complements sides and starters, or shines on its own as a delectable taste within a main course. And while the truffle craze may have tapered off from its surge in popularity a few years ago, a steady demand for the seasonal, subterranean growth keeps it a relevant taste on many tables — and palates — throughout the Vail Valley.
The hunt for the perfect truffle fry is one that can prove just as enduring as the search for the prized fungus itself, as the truffle fry comes in all shapes and sizes on menus around the area, with each proving to be a mouth-watering staple at some of the Vail Valley's most quintessential spots. Up The Creek's truffle fries make for a decadent mid-day snack along Gore Creek in Vail Village, and are topped with parmesan, blue cheese fondue and truffle oil. Similarly, a bowl of truffle fries — complete with black truffle aioli and herbed parmesan — for the table is the perfect way to elevate an afternoon at The 10th on Vail Mountain, especially when paired with the on-mountain dining views, complimentary slippers and something to sip. The Sonnenalp's Bully Ranch offers a tasty take on a cookout classic, as the Western-inspired eatery's truffle tater tots are the perfect side to saddle up with an accompanying burger and beer. (And don't skip the restaurant's famous mudslide, an adults-only sweet treat.) Truffles are king down valley too, with Larkspur spin-off Larkburger. The casual, kid-friendly burger joint in Edwards has some of the best fries in town; topped with parmesan and truffle oil, they're over the top. And, if heading to Juniper Restaurant in Edwards, be sure to split a side of truffle mashed potatoes for the table.
While the truffle fry is always a welcome addition to any meal, Vail-area chefs are not limited to embellished potatoes. Winter to early spring is prime season for black truffles. Edwards hotspot, Sato, specializing in contemporary Asian cuisine and sushi, features Executive Chef Atsushi Minami's duck confit and forbidden rice risotto with truffle oil. At Flame in the Four Seasons, truffles steal the show, as Executive Chef Marcus Stewart will be incorporating black winter truffles into both starters and mains for the table. Start the evening with the tartare and carpaccio duo, which features beef tartare tossed in a truffle aioli, and is paired with thinly sliced beef carpaccio and topped with shaved black truffles. Keep on the truffle train with Flame's seasonal, foraged mushroom risotto that's blended with comté cheese and black truffles as a side or entrée option. Or, watch for truffle specials at La Tour, a Vail Village staple for seasonal, inspired cuisine. Though Chef-Owner Paul Ferzacca offers beautiful, and often complex, cuisine, he is not afraid of simplicity, either. Perhaps one of the best ways to experience the truffle's sexy allure is simply shaved atop a perfectly cooked omelet.
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