Restaurant: Truffle House Cafe
Cuisine: French, Italian
Address: 2452 Marine Drive
Location: West Vancouver, BC
Phone: (604) 922-4222
Price Range: $$
You may have noticed that my blog is titled “For the Love of Truffle”, yet I have not written anything truffle related. Well, here is my super belated post about the almighty truffle, almost one year late to be exact 🙂
In my introduction post here, I described truffles as one of my favourite ingredients in the world – whether it’s that dash of truffle oil to take my mac and cheese to the next level or in the form of salt, sprinkled over my popcorn – it is heavenly. Knowing how much I love truffles, on a visit back “home” to Vancouver last November, Morgan, one of my bestest foodie friends, decided she wants to take me to the Truffle House Cafe. Located in beautiful Dundarave Village in West Vancouver, this charming little restaurant is situated just steps from the water with a fabulous view of mainland Vancouver.
On this chilly November afternoon, we walk into the Truffle House Cafe and are seated in their heated back patio. It doesn’t take long before we are ready to place our orders – every order contained truffles and why wouldn’t it? We are at the Truffle House Cafe after all 🙂
To start, we order the Truffle Sliders.
These appear bland but sometimes, looks really are deceiving. The spectacular truffle cheese adds just the right amount of truffle flavour without overpowering the sliders, while the meat is tender and juicy, and the bread fresh and chewy.
Morgan orders the Truffle and Celery Root Quiche, which she described as one of the best quiches she has ever had. The egg filling appears dense, but as she says, the eggs were in fact fluffy and the truffle flavour prominent (both truffle oil and shaved truffles are used in this dish).
(Photo courtesy of Morgan Stewart)
There is one dish that catches my eye, and I order the Truffle Crepe, which is filled with a black truffle puree, mushroom cream sauce, baby spinach and white truffle oil. I am biased when it comes to truffles so of course, this crepe was delish.
Mushrooms and truffles compliment one another nicely and naturally so, as they are relatives in the fungus family – mushrooms grow on the surface while truffles grow underground and rely on animals to dig them out (commonly dogs or pigs in Europe). The truffle is a coveted ingredient and is considered a luxury item – outrageously expensive. A pound of white truffle sells for thousands of dollars! This is because the white truffle grows almost exclusively in a specific region of Italy and is only available for a few months out of the year. When truffle is offered on a menu, it is used sparingly – not only because it is an expensive ingredient, but because it is rather pungent and can easily overpower a dish (not that I have a problem with this). A little goes a long way.
For a taste of truffle without the exorbitant price tag, find yourself a decent truffle oil and jar of truffle salt, which are both readily available (in Toronto anyway). I restock every few months at The Spice Trader located across the street from Trinity Bellwoods Park (the customer service there is top notch too). Do keep in mind that the reason most truffle oils are relatively inexpensive ($15-$40) is because they do not contain actual truffles – it’s kind of a controversial ingredient amongst chefs, as truffle oil is essentially olive oil infused with truffle flavourings. But hey, us regular folks cannot afford to spend hundreds and even thousands of dollars on a golf ball sized fungus for dinner, so the essence of the truffle will have to do.
There are two different types of truffles: black and white. Black truffles are considered more aromatic/stronger in flavour while white truffles more delicate. As such, choose your oils based on what you are cooking – black truffle oil for heavier dishes like those that involve meat; white truffle oil as a finishing oil (not cooked) to drizzle over eggs or pasta. Whichever one you choose, your meal will surely be transformed into something marvelous. For the home cook, truffle oil is a convenient substitute for the real thing, and it does the job just fine.