Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin bought a $US95,000 white truffle from NYC restaurateur Nello Balan, according to the
New York Post.
And now that we’re over the price tag, the only question remains… what the heck is Potanin going to do with all that expensive truffle?
White Alba truffles, as they’re known formally, are incredibly rare. They hail from the Alba region of Italy and have never been domesticated — dogs and pigs are used to hunt them where they grow at the base of oak trees.
White Albas are also seasonal, which means here in NYC, around late September/early October total truffle madness ensues. Shipments are well documented on food blogs around town, and restaurants tweet out updates of their truffle supply status.
Business Insider reached out to some local foodies to see what they would do with four pounds of these incredibly rare fungi and the response was quick — first thing’s first, said one, “I’d make truffle oil to sprinkle on EVERYTHING!”
That involves simmering the truffle in oil so that its flavour is released into the oil. The stronger you want the flavour, the more truffle it will take, and Potanin’s chef definitely won’t use all of it. Four pounds is a lot of truffle.
After you’ve got the truffle infused oil, you can use it to make glorious truffle fries (or something else… but we like fries).
It also might be a good idea to dry some of the white Alba truffles and freeze them for a rainy day.
After that, the world is Potanin’s oyster. The white Albas can be infused into butter, cream, cheese or milk (you may want to freeze those dairy products too).
The truffles can be used in a pasta or risotto (pretty standard), or you can just put a healthy portion on top of your favourite dish.
Some winning dishes from last year’s NYC truffle season include Restaurant Marc Forgione’s addition of white Alba shavings to his brick chicken and Colicchio and Sons’ gnocchi with white truffles.
As Eater NY put it so succinctly last month — “Expect truffle burgers, truffle pizzas, truffletinis, and truffle tastings to land on menus around the city in the coming weeks. Maybe Dominique Ansel will throw us a bone and stuff some truffles in a Cronut.”
We’ll see what kind of truly inspired truffle dishes come out of this season’s mania after the dust settles and the city runs out.
Vladimir Potanin, for his part, won’t have to do that kind of soul searching for a while.