When renowned restaurateur Piero Selvaggio and multiple James Beard Award-winning chef Luciano Pellegrini team up for a white truffle dinner, there is no other place any food lover should be. Recently, these two industry heavyweights celebrated the 40th anniversary of their restaurant, Valentino, at their award-winning venues in Santa Monica, Houston, and Las Vegas with a five-course white truffle dinner paired with the wines from Beni Di Batasiolo.
We attended the celebratory meal at Valentino in Las Vegas in The Venetian Resort and Casino. Walking through the lounge, our noses were delighted to get our first whiff of the aromas of white truffles that filled the room. The dining room glistened with numerous wine glasses at each table placement and a basket of the "white diamonds" from the earth sat center stage, beckoning guests to come over a get a closer look at what they were about to experience.
Chef Luciano did not waste any time and got our palates primed with two starters featuring the truffles paired with Cranee, Gavi DOCG 2009. The lovely, elegant gavi, with its floral aroma and refreshing taste, paired harmoniously with the subtle flavors of the white truffles.
The first course was homemade duck prosciutto with boschetto cheese and white truffle. This dish was a wonderful way to start and showed off chef Luiano’s award-winning skills and expertise in the art of pairing fine food and wine. The thinly sliced duck prosciutto matched perfectly with the elegant white truffles that danced off our palates with layers of classic flavors. The intense full bodied Dolcetto d’ Alba, with its perfect tannins and acidity, was the right choice in wine as it was favorable enough but did not overwhelm the delicate flavors of the dish.
Next came egg and ricotta ravioli with Parmesan fondue and white truffle. The second dish was an excellent contrast to the first. The richness of the egg and ricotta ravioli with the slight saltiness and creaminess of the Parmesan fondue, showed the versatility in the dimensions of the white truffle. In this dish, the truffle stood up to bolder flavors and took its rightful place as the star. The barbera, with its soft aromas of red fruits and flowers and its well balanced acidy, married to this rich dish perfectly.
The third course was a Wagyu beef medallion with barolo demi white asparagus and white truffle. The dish was big and bold and brought out even deeper flavors of the truffle. The Wagu beef medallion, with Luciano’s expertise in using wine in the dish due to the addition of a barolo demi white asparagus brought out layers and layers of flavors that kept going bite after bite. A big dish needed a bigger wine and the barolos worked well. The intense garnet color, big flavors of wild red berries, and an earthy tobacco-scented aroma paired perfectly with the dish.
Like a period at the end of the final sentence of a great novel, this dinner had to have a fitting ending. Chef Luciano Pellegrini and his staff provided guests with two tasty but light desserts that would send everyone home with a smile. The tasty creations from executive pastry chef Alessandro Stoppa paired with the delicate and elegant flavors of the bracchetto provided the final treat for our palates that had been pleased all night.
A dinner such as this is not just a meal, but a dining experience that will live on in the memories of those fortunate enough have been at one of these incredible evenings.