Manuel Vázquez Montalbán
Christmas, with all its sentimental and gastric excesses, is over. We have stripped the forest clean and used the branches of the pine and fir trees to decorate our nativity displays. We have not left one single holly shoot, or one single branch. Now the tree stands alone, naked, with not one of its red berries remaining, and it seems to give way to a regenerative slumber. Its sap is in deep sleep. Its roots dream of new things to come in the spring. A freezing ray of light filters through the bare branches. The soil, having given up everything it had, is resting. Everything? Not quite. Below the hard surface, dark, fat, heavily scented truffles are waiting for us. Truffles are the essence of the earth. They are an effervescent mix of all the nutrients. They look like rocks and yet they are alive. They resemble old iron, and yet they are the solid representation of a delicate scent. They are the winter’s treasure and the most prized of all its spoils, of its austerity.
Truffles are soil made edible: a mystery. They are symbolic, lending themselves to the fanciful nature of our palate, as a synopsis of past pleasures and a pledge to future ones. They are uncut versions of precious gems, calling out to us to polish them and eat them whole, or to integrate them in new designer jewels where they will shine out, never tarnishing or causing the other jewels to tarnish, to cheer our minds during the long winter.
In a good kitchen, like the one at the Roig Robí, in good company, in the hands of cooks who know what they’re about, enveloped with the scent of truffles, who needs spring? Let it take its time. Right now, let us give our attention to the superior pleasure to be had from the truffle experience.