The elusive underground tuber that grow on the roots of oak and hazelnut trees, truffles—both white and black—are one of the world’s most beloved, and blingy ingredients. A fungus prized for its earthy, musky, and sometimes garlicky aroma and flavor—depending on the season and market availability—white truffles can fetch upward of $3,600 per pound when purchased directly from an importer, while black truffles are relatively more affordable, running upward of $900 per pound. During North America’s fall to winter, truffles from Europe (Italy, France, Spain) come into season.
Thanks to their delicate flavor, truffles are best accentuated with simple butter or cream-based dishes, and certainly—for the breakfast of champions—they dazzle atop eggs. Below, a number of top Chicago restaurants are embracing the winter season by serving a variety of white and black truffles, either paired with a specific plate, or offered as a supplement atop the diners’ choice of dish.
Longtime Gold Coast Italian staple Spiaggia is getting ready for truffle season. Newly-appointed executive chef Eric Lees is once again rolling out the restaurant’s white truffle-garnished ricotta gnocchi, which has been on the menu during truffle season for the last 35 years. He’s also planning to add a few other truffle options, and guests can also order truffles shaved tableside onto any dish, 5 grams for $80.