Earthly Delights to Pleasure the Senses ….
The Insider recently caught up to Robert Chang, the Managing Director and Chief Truffle Officer of American Truffle Co, the prime mover behind the Napa Truffle Festival (Jan 17-20, 2020). Bubbling over with enthusiasm for all things truffle, wine, food and Napa, Chang was a great NSI interview. Cheers and enjoy.
What was last night’s dinner? Instead of last night’s dinner, how about one of my most memorable? Rarely do white and black truffle seasons overlap. White truffles are usually done by Dec. And then Perigord start in January. But they overlapped into January and I love to cook, so I cooked a Bucatini dinner, that’s like a thicker spaghetti noodle, only with a hollow inside that brings out the al dente flavor.
Who was lucky enough to dine on such truffle heaven? I’ve got twin girls and they were 12 years old at the time and yes, they did appreciate it very much. I’m lucky, they’ll try anything.
Favorite drink? A Caipirinha. It’s Brazil’s national drink and I love it. (Had to look it up online and it does look really refreshing.)
Favorite dining spot in Napa? Oh there’s so many that I like, that’s a tough one. But since Chef Ken Frank has been such a huge supporter of our truffle festival since the beginning, I’ll go with La Toque.
Favorite music? Classical music, with a qualification. I’m a Type A person, so I don’t want slow moving pieces that put me to sleep. But a fast moving symphony cranks me right up and I love it, like a bold red wine.
Favorite thing about visiting Napa? Oh, it is just so beautiful. You can feel the tension come out of you when you leave the Bay area and arrive. Best way to describe it, sophisticated without being snooty.
Any brush with celebrity? Not any movie or TV stars, but a lot of celebrity chefs who appreciate truffles, which has been a real thrill in seeing their cooking techniques up close with our truffles.
What makes a great event? Any event that has the guests and hosts saying they had a great time and also saying they learned something as well. This is our 10th anniversary and it just keeps getting better, but we learn something every year and improve on it for the next one.
Any wine, meal or place to visit on your bucket list? I’d love to visit South America. To narrow it down, love to have the cowboy and steak experience in Argentina. (me too.)
Final thoughts? Just a ton of appreciation to all the people in Napa who come out and support our festival. We are always in pursuit of perfection and it just keeps getting better. And January in Napa is such a magical time of year. (Yes, you don’t need blazing sun in the dead of summer to have an awesome time in Napa… check out www.napatrufflefestival.com Jan 17-20, 2020.)