New and Noteworthy
Casina Rossa Truffle & Salt
About the best thing I've laid lip to in some time is the Casina Rossa Truffle & Salt condiment, available at Central Market, Whole Foods on North Lamar, and Enoteca Vespaio. While this is pricey stuff ($19-plus for 3.5 oz.), a little goes a long way, and I figure a jar should last about a year. And unlike volatile truffle oil that loses its flavor and aroma fairly quickly, I suspect that the preservative medium of salt will maintain its seductive truffle-osity for a good long time.
This is a balanced mixture of high-quality, medium-grain sea salt and comparably sized flecks of black truffle. The intense aroma explodes as soon as you remove the paper cover, even before unscrewing the lid. And when you stick your nose in the jar ... well, prepare to swoon.
I've been having great fun trying this mix with various dishes; as with truffle oil, the simpler the dish, the more successful the marriage. So far, the happiest combination is a sprinkle of truffle salt on sliced fresh tomatoes. It also works beautifully with potatoes, softly scrambled eggs, and buttered pasta. My mental palate says it would be great on popcorn and deviled eggs, and I'll be trying those soon.
Apparently, I'm not alone in my enthusiasm for Truffle & Salt: It was a condiment winner at the 2005 NASFT Product Awards Competition. The family-operated food business, Casina Rossa in Abruzzo, Italy, produces a number of other artisanal products, of which Saffron & Salt and Candied Sweet & Salt are also available in Austin.