It's not truffle season but I'll tell you how you can get pretty close! There's nothing like white truffles shaved onto a plate of homemade tajarin in October in the Piedmonte. And what about the baked eggs with truffles and cream at Osteria del'Arco in Alba. Oh, and they also make an unbelievable roasted onion filled with the creamiest fonduta. At the last minute, they shave a bunch of white truffle onto the top! Yup, I like fresh truffles a lot. One year I even went truffle hunting with Martino and his two dogs but that's a whole other story. I remember a few years ago my friend, Judy Francini, arrived from Florence bearing a small jar of truffle flour. The way she handed it to me, I knew it was special. I added a few tablespoons to fresh homemade pasta and tossed it with wild mushrooms and lots of Parmigiano Reggiano. I liked the truffle flour but I have to tell you, I am lost on truffle "products" like dried pasta flavored with truffles, truffle oil, truffle butter, cheese scented with truffles. Usually I just wait to have fresh truffles in Ocotber in the Piedmont! Last weekend was a big surprise... I went to visit some good friends and students of mine, John and Sandy, at Calistoga Ranch. It was a stormy, grey day, a perfect day for lunch inside by the fire. We started with an earthy mushroom soup accompanied by a wreath of the crustiest bread, a tub of Strauss Family Creamery organic sweet butter and some Dean And DeLuca truffle salt. I took the top off the salt and was blown away by it's full, heady aroma and I realized that I was about as close as I was going to get on a March day in Napa Valley to a Piedmonte truffle. I tore off a piece of bread, loaded it with creamy butter and sprinkled the lot with trufffle salt. Honest to God, it was over the top washed it down with a glass of Duckhorn Paraduxx red. And it's only March!