Monday, November 16, 2015 –980 North Michigan Avenue
2nd Floor (Main Dining Room)
Reception 6:30 PM to 7:00 PM
Dinner 7:00 PM to 10:30 PM
Event Price: $495.00 pp, all inclusive
Dress Code: Business Attire, w/ Decorations for Members
Parking: 980 North Michigan Avenue garage (Walton St. side).
Garage elevator goes directly to the second floor restaurant.
White Truffle Dinner at Spiaggia
Spiaggia has been setting the standard for creative Italian cuisine in Chicago for three decades, earning four-star reviews, international praise and numerous awards, including a 2014 nomination for Outstanding Restaurant from the James Beard Foundation. On November 16, 2015, Chef-Partner Tony Mantuano, one of the Windy City’s most acclaimed gourmet gurus, hosted more the 50 members and guests of the Chicago Chaîne for his annual degustazione di tartufo bianco.
The evening began in the new Spiaggia Lounge with its stunning views of Chicago and Lake Michigan. Guests savored three passed canapés: toasted focaccia topped with foie gras mousse, apple gelée and chopped pistachios; apple cider spuma floated on rich toasted chestnut soup scented with white truffle oil and garnished with freshly grated nutmeg; and a crudo of Georges Bank scallops dressed with roasted garlic oil, Meyer lemon fluid gel, controne pepper and micro basil and crowned with squid-ink tuile. 2004 Pierre Moncuit Champagne Brut Millésime Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs paired splendidly with the diverse canapés. This versatile 100% Chardonnay sparkler offered aromas of fresh orchard fruit and citrus notes with pear and lemon flavors and bright minerality.
Members then moved into Spiaggia’s elegant main dining room, which was completely remodeled last year to give it a lighter, more contemporary feel. Chambellan Provincial/Bailli Mon Roldan thanked Chef Tony for hosting this spectacular event and presented him with a framed Chaîne des Rôtisseurs plaque. After Vice-Chargée de Presse Hon. Nadia Gould gave a heartfelt toast, the white truffle extravaganza commenced. Polished servers presented our first dish: baccalà spuma that enveloped a Kumamoto oyster capped with Calvisius Siberian royal osetra caviar, lemon zest, potato waffle crisp dusted with espresso powder and fresh white truffle shavings. This chilled seafood dish paired nicely with a 2013 Italian Sauvignon Blanc produced by Scarbolo in the Grave subregion of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Young and unoaked, this wine exhibited an intense bouquet of peach, tropical fruit and sage with sufficient acidity and minerality to both cut through the creamy baccalà while complementing the caviar and oyster.
Our second course was uovo polenta. A slow-poached Slagel Farm egg was served over a bed of creamy polenta made with a puree of Nichols Farm roasted squash and Grana Padano cheese, a simple but highly effective platform for delivering white truffle shavings. The paired wine was produced by Fattoria la Monacesca in Italy’s Marche region. Its Riserva “Mirum” is a unique full-bodied blend of 85% extra-ripe Verdicchio grapes from the 2008 vintage and 15% of this varietal from the 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004 vintages to celebrate the winery’s 20th anniversary. The wine’s hue was as golden as the accompanying egg, and it exhibited notes of roasted almonds, citrus, apricot, mineral and honey with a touch of apple pie.
Our third course, a true Spiaggia classic, was fresh hand-rolled gnocchi covered with a rich sauce made with half and half, heavy cream and Calabro ricotta cheese. The sauce was heated with the gnocchi and finished with a touch of butter and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and covered with shaved white truffles. The accompanying wine from Domaine René Leclerc was produced in Les Cazetiers, a Premier Cru climat above the village of Gevrey-Chambertin in Burgundy’s Cote de Nuits. This well-aged Pinot Noir from the 1988 vintage was still very much alive, with earthy dark fruit and tobacco notes that enhanced this stellar truffle offering.
Our fourth dish showcased a rich ring of pork testa seasoned with apple and fennel surrounding risotto made with Acquerello carnaroli rice from Piedmont that was cooked with smoked pork stock, finished with chives, parsley and Parmigiano Reggiano, and garnished with ribbons of shaved fennel, fennel fronds and shaved truffles. No white Alba truffle dinner would be complete without a red wine from northwestern Italy’s Piedmont region, home to both the world’s best white truffles and Nebbiolo grapes. The small production Barolo Bussia Vigna Fiurin was made by Marco Parusso of Armando Parusso in a modern style with fine, silky tannins, floral and spice aromas and balsamic cherry notes.
Our fifth dish was California Muscovy duck breast that had been dry-aged for two weeks and seasoned with coriander, black pepper, and fennel seed before being wood-roasted. Served with a nectarine purée, roasted Nichols Farm Brussels sprouts, shaved white truffles and fresh chives, the duck was then sauced tableside with blend of reduced roasted duck stock and cream. Northern Rhône producer Delas Frères created our 1990 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée de Haute Pierre, a blend of Grenache and Syrah that offered aromas of black cherry and licorice and flavors of ripe berries and a hint of smokiness that elevated the truffle-enhanced duck.
Our evening concluded with cremoso, a dessert that straddled the line between a mousse and a pudding. Spiaggia’s version incorporated Felchlin Maracaibo dark chocolate, milk and cream that was drizzled with white truffle honey and garnished with puffed rice, truffled Maldon salt, wildflowers and fresh Alba white truffles shaved at the pass. Henriques & Henriques created the accompanying beverage using Verdelho grapes from the Portuguese island of Madeira. Aged for 15 years, this fortified white wine features an intense nose of dried fruits and a palate of toffee and caramel with a slightly salty finish that complemented the desert course.
Throughout the evening, Vice-Chargé de Missions Beth Lang provided food commentary and Vice Echanson Manfred Raiser delivered insights into the wine pairings. As the extraordinary meal concluded, Bailli Mon Roldan gave thanks and Chaîne Awards of Merit to Chef Tony’s team, including Spiaggia’s distinguished sommelier and beverage director, Rachael Lowe; Pastry Chef Melanie Diamond-Manlusoc and Sous Chef Brian Bruns; and Cyndi Rosenberg, Director of Sales for Spiaggia Private Events.
If truffles are the royal family of gourmet foods, then Piedmont’s white truffles are king. The tartufo bianco is unquestionably the most flavorful and aromatic of all truffle species, and Chef Tony showcased this prized luxury ingredient throughout an innovative multi-course menu that paid tribute to Italian cuisine—modern, refined and beautiful in its simplicity. Chaîne Chicago left Spiaggia feeling like royalty. Cin cin!
Cher Confrères and Consœurs,
Spiaggia has been setting the standard for creative Italian cuisine in Chicago for three decades, earning four-star reviews, international praise and numerous awards, including a 2014 nomination for Outstanding Restaurant from the James Beard Foundation. Chef-partner Tony Mantuano is one of the Windy City’s most acclaimed gourmet gurus. In fact, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proclaimed October 15th “Chef Tony Mantuano Day,” and he was honored as “Chef of the Year” at the Chicago Culinary Museum and Chefs Hall of Fame’s “2015 Culinary Excellence” gala. With this backdrop, I am thrilled to invite the Chicago Chaîne to experience Spiaggia’s degustazione di tartufo bianco!
If truffles are the royal family of gourmet foods, then Piedmont’s white truffles are king. The tartufo bianco is unquestionably the most flavorful and aromatic of all truffle species, and Chef Tony and Chef di Cucina Joe Flamm will showcase this prized luxury ingredient throughout an innovative multi-course menu that pays tribute to Italian cuisine—modern, refined and beautiful in its simplicity. We are consulting with Spiaggia’s distinguished sommelier and beverage director, Rachael Lowe, to create incredible Italian wine pairings certain to elevate your white truffle experience to greater heights. We will dig deep in our cellar for fine Italian gems!
Our evening will begin in the new Spiaggia Lounge where we will enjoy an Italian sparkler with stunning views of Lake Michigan in the background. Our white truffle dinner will be hosted in Spiaggia’s elegant main dining room, which was completely remodeled last year to give it a lighter, more contemporary feel. I look forward to sharing a remarkable culinary experience with you in Chicago’s finest Italian restaurant.
Capacity for this event is limited. Please sign up early.