Since 1932 Maison de la Truffe has been a luxurious hideaway for the most distinguished gourmet palates in Paris. People can buy, taste and savor truffles in all possible ways. A shop and restaurant in one this is THE PLACE to dine for anyone who loves this intensely aromatic mushroom and purchase truffle infused oil, salt, foie gras, pates, pastas, risottos and many other products such as cheese (the truffle brie is mind-blowing) of outstanding quality made with truffles. I recommend everyone to get their truffle salt and white truffle oil as you can become a master chef at home by simply adding these condiments to rice, pasta or meat and vegetables.
Maison de la Truffe at Place de la Madaleine
Cuisine: Truffle based French and Italian
Visit: April 2012
Price: very high and depending on what kind of truffle if any you want on your dish. White truffles from Alba and Black Melanosporum truffles are the priciest.
Atmosphere: Fresh, simple, it can feel a bit businessy over the lunch and classic for the dinner. There are beautiful photographs of truffles all over the walls. The restaurant is entered through the tiny shop so you can sample some delicacies before you decide to get a table. I rarely see very young diners there, perhaps truffles attract more mature food connoisseurs, yet from time to time even a family finds its way here. Many people come here from work so they are dressed in smart casual clothes. No heels, ties and hats needed. It is Paris, so if you are a tourist striding the streets in your snickers they will probably let you in, perhaps just with a small frown on their forehead. After all, you are in the capital of fashion.
Maison de la Truffe at Place de la Madaleine in Paris
Food: You can start off your day late and in a big style with scrambled eggs sprinkled generously with truffles, if you are not hesitant to pay over 70 Euro for a breakfast (the White truffle option). There is also selection of foie gras and cheeses, but I would recommend to buy these at the shop for later home consumption as it is cheaper and one does not to eat it all at once, but save it for later. The choice of truffles varies according to the season as these aromatic mushrooms have to be eaten fresh to taste them in their full strength. The chef does a very good job implementing truffles into each dish so I would strongly recommend to indulge at least in one of the restaurant’s appetizers. In the french tradition the Chestnut Cream Soup is excellent. Creamy, delicate and lets the aromas of your choice of truffles stand out. On the example of this soup you can see well how the price rises with your choice. Without truffles it is 13 Euro, with cheaper seasonal truffle it rises to 20 and with the black truffle it is almost tripple as you pay 36 Euro. I would do the middle version if you do not want to over-splurge on a soup. Another take on a traditional dish, in this case from Italy is their Burrata – creamy mozzarella with tomatoes (14 Euro), is twice as good with truffles, so in this case the price (21Euro) is a good deal. As the burrata melts in your mouth the truffle aromas harmoniously play with this dish.
Beef Tartare Maison de la Truffe
From the main courses the Beef Tartare “Maison de la Truffe” with French Fries and Salad is perfect if you do not want anything warm. The meat is of excellent quality which is important in this raw meat-based delicacy, there are no capers in the maison de la Truffe version for a simple reason as they are too aromatic and would fight with the intense flavor of truffles. The only drawback of this meal were the French Fries as they were not crispy as I like them, but a bit mushy.
Raviolis with Summer Truffles
From one of the house classics I have tried the Risotto, which was excellent – slightly creamy, simple yet outstanding. Last time I was there with my sister and she had the Raviolis with Summer Truffles and Truffled cream and as much as she enjoyed the truffles, she missed more filling inside the raviolis and found it too rich and creamy. With truffles the dish should be rather delicate so one is not overwhelmed by the weight of the meal so he can relish the exceptional gourmet experience from eating truffles.
If you decide for a desert, do it, they all look great, yet, I move to the shop, get a slice of Foie Gras or Truffled Brie and take it to the park. Tuileries gardens by Louvre are just five minutes away!
Drinks: I had a glass of red Bordeaux made exclusively for maison de la Truffe. Red wine is the best drink with black truffles, which I had sprinkled all over my steak tartare. For white truffles champagne is widely recommended. Although many people from Piedmont, the kingdom of white truffles in Italy, told me that a local juicy red Barbera, Barbaresco or even a heavier Barolo are their favorite drinks with their local culinary gem.
Opening hours & contact: Restaurant Maison de la Truffe at Place de la Madaleine: Mon-Saturday: 12-22:30; Store 10am-22:00pm; Reserve a table on their website here.