In this corner, the black truffles of Tuscany, legendary for the intoxicatingly complex and musky aromas even the slenderest shavings impart to a dish. And in this corner, Tennessee truffle, no that's not a euphemism for a part of a hog or something, but actual Perigord truffles cultivated in Tennessee (whose soil and climate are said to be perfect for the species) by planting hazelnut trees whose roots are inoculated with truffle spores. Can they measure up to the Old World originals? That was the question behind last week's dinner at Spiaggia, in which chef Joseph Lenn of Tennessee's acclaimed Blackberry Farm joined Spiaggia's Tony Mantuano and Sarah Grueneberg for a truffle-off. The fungi flowed freely as each side lavished diners with freshly shaved truffles tableside. Our man Huge Galdones was there (with his nose for great images) at what will surely rank as one of the year's most decadent dining events; check out his slideshow below.
Tartufi della Toscana & Truffles of Tennessee Dinner, benefiting the James Beard Foundation.
Tony Mantuano, Sarah Grueneberg, Joseph Lenn (Executive Chef, Blackberry Farm) and Jason Carlen of Spiaggia.
In action: Jason Carlen and Jason Wagner of The Gage/Henri (one of the many guest sommeliers helping pour).
On the line.
Crudo di Cappesante: Nantucket Bay scallops, sunchoke and citrus (Spiaggia).
Agnolotti di Pecorino with truffles, from the Spiaggia team.
Chefs Mantuano, Grueneberg and Lenn shaved truffles at tableside.
Tossing the gnocchi like a boss.
Guinea Hen Confit with potato gnocchi, hen of the woods, poached egg and chicken cracklins (Blackberry Farm).
Smoky Mountain Rainbow Trout with clementine and celery root (Blackberry Farm).
Chef Lenn and one of his cooks in the kitchen.
Porchetta di Maialino— suckling pig and white polenta (Spiaggia).
Blackberry Farm Blue Cheesecake with a pecan vinaigrette and poached pears.
A full house for truffles.
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