Browsing Tag



How to Use Truffles in Your Kitchen

winter white truffles by macchi

winter white truffles by macchi

I’m happy that Hivron Turanli, a foodie and the Marketing Director at Macchi Inc. has accepted to be a guest blogger on At Home with Kim Vallee. Hivron agreed to talk to us about a special ingredient that she adores. She shared with us practical tips on how to use truffles in your kitchen. Hivron is also known as Mrs. Macchi on Twitter.

People associate truffles with refined and expensive food. Many may feel that it is too expensive to use at home. I will show you that there are many ways and price levels at which you cook with truffles.

What is a Truffle?

Truffles come from the ‘Fungi’ (Fungus) family, just like the mushroom. It has the consistency and the shape of a potato or a nugget. The common definition refers to the shape of a truffle.  What makes it so desirable is its incredible and unique aroma. Plus, their seasons only last for a couple of months at a time.

There are three types of truffles:

  • Winter White Truffle (Alba Truffle) retails at $8,500 CAD/kg
  • Winter Black Truffle (Black Norcia Truffle or Black Perigord Truffle) retails at $3,500 CAD/kg
  • Black Summer Truffle retails at $1000 CAD/kg

The aromatic level and the season duration explain the price difference. The summer truffle is the least expensive since it’s the least aromatic and it has the longer season period. It stretches from mid May to September.

How Much Truffles Do You Need for 4 Portions?

shaving fresh truffles at macchi

The most common way to serve fresh truffle is to shave it on your dishes, like a plate of pasta or pan-fried eggs!

The more aromatic is the truffle, the less you need to put in a dish. The rule of thumbs is to cut by half the quantity if you use the pricer winter white truffle compared to the least expensive option. From my experience, a generous serving for 4 people would be:

  • 20g of Winter White Truffle,
  • 30g of Winter Black truffle and
  • 40g of Black Summer Truffles.

Preserved Truffles and Truffle Oils

But you don’t need a deep wallet to enjoy the taste of truffles. Macchi carries a variety of preserved truffles and truffle oils under our own private label Il Tartufo d’Oro.

truffle carpaccio paste and oils :: products by macchi

  • Truffle Carpaccio is made from summer truffles, covered with sunflower oil in a jar. It’s great on a pizza or to elevate an egg sandwich. Serve no more than a slice per person. $50 CAD for a 120g jar
  • Truffle Paste is minced black summer truffle mixed with mushrooms, olives, and olive oil. The paste can add flavor to a white pasta sauce. You can spread a teaspoon over your BBQ steak, or make canapés for a chic cocktail party! $20$ CAD for a 180g jar
  • Truffle Oil Black or White has no real truffles in it! It is simply an extra virgin olive oil infused with truffle essence. I use it at least 3 times per week in my cooking. The white one is slightly sweeter in flavor and the black tastes earthier. I put a dash into my Bolognese sauce, drizzle some over a fried egg or a steamed artichoke. $25-$30 CAD for a 250 ml bottle.

As you can see there are a lot of options for enjoying truffle and adding it to the ingredients you use in your cooking.

Thank you, Hivron, for letting us discovered the wonderful world of truffles. Hivron writes a blog where you can learn more tips and recipes about the fine gourmet ingredients imported by Macchi. Here is everything she wrote about truffles.

+ photos: Macchi Inc.


Le Canard Libéré is the place for Brome Lake Ducks in Montreal

interior views of le canard libere, espace gourmand

I parked in front of Le Canard Libéré yesterday as I went to take pictures of a store on Saint-Laurent Street. It was just after lunchtime and I did not have lunch yet. I saw that they served gourmet sandwiches.

I entered for some take-out food and I got out with food provisions from their delicatessen. I was in a hurry but I took the time to ask a few questions and take pictures. I bought a duck pie for when I work late, a duck liver terrine and a pack of dried duck that you can roll over a melon like we do with prosciutto.

duck products from Brome Lake Ducks and small regional producers

For lunch, I ate a country-style soup made with cabbage, duck cubes in a duck broth with a duck confit Panini. It was delicious! Not bad for a girl who had to eat in a hurry.

The duck from Brome Lake Ducks are not sold everywhere so it is great to be able to find everything under one roof. Le Canard Libéré also carries a vast selection of harmonizing gourmet food from small regional producers to save you time. There was a couple in the store who were having friends for dinner and the first reaction of the man was: get the sauce.

Whether you are a Montrealer or only visiting Montreal, put Le Canard Libéré on your shopping itinerary.

+ Brome Lake Ducks
+ Le canard libéré, espace gourmand p 514.286.1286
4396 boul. Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC, Canada, H2W 1Z5


Gourmet Baby Food hits the US Market

pomme bébé fresh organic baby food california

Recall my story last month about Menus Bébé, a brand in France that produces Ready to Serve Gourmet Baby Food. I have found a similar company in California.

Why to choose Pomme Bébé?

Pomme Bébé produces small batches of fresh organic baby food. The food is simmered slowly to retain the maximum amount of wholesome nutrients that your baby needs.

You get the basically same advantages that Menus Bébé provides. The food is more nutritious, displays vibrant colors and is tastier. The menu changes every season at Pomme Bébé. Their menu relies heavenly on the freshness of seasonal produces.

You can buy Pomme Bébé food at their Newport Beach store, online or by phone. The food can be opted for next day delivery at your door or quickly pass by the store for a curbside pick-up.

Bébé Bar, Bébé Lounge

What is cool about Pomme Bébé for Newport Beach residents is their cool store. Sit your baby in an egg shaped high chair and indulge in a tasting session. Your baby can try out fresh food samples at Pomme Bébé bar. There is also a Bébé lounge where parents can meet in a hip and inviting atmosphere to enjoy a wholesome treat or fresh-squeezed juice.

Bébé Party

No need to clean your house for your next playdate. Simply host a playgroup at Pomme Bébé. Your kids will be able to sample their organic ready to serve baby food, you will receive nutritional information and the babies can play with toys in the nicely designed Baby Lounge.

Pomme Bébé
2043 Westcliff Drive, Suite 106
Newport Beach, CA  92660
p  949.200.7430
open Monday-Friday 9:30am-5:30pm, Saturday 10:00am-2:00pm

>>> Sourcing:
Buy online: Pomme Bébé online store – price: $3.25 – $4.50 per 4 oz container


Dean & DeLuca caters entertaining essentials and hostess gifts

dean & deluca : gourmet food and kitchenware

While I was in New York shopping in SoHo, I stopped by Dean and DeLuca. We just finished eating in the Korean neighborhood so I feel sad because I was not hungry.

With so many delicacies, gourmet foods, cakes and pastries, wines plus a dishware section, Dean & DeLuca is THE one-stop shopping for epicurean cooking, eating and entertaining.

Take the cake section. Save time and buy a cake instead of making your own. Their cupcakes and their mini cakes are stylish. I remembered the Busy Bees and the Coconut Layer Cakes.

Your can serve several mini cakes for dessert instead of a normal size cake. The stylish hostess will present the mini cakes in dome stands, which you can buy there. That is what I called the ultimate one-stop shopping experience.

Gift store

If you need to pick up a wonderful hostess gift in a hurry this is the place to go. I am showing some products that I like. In fact, I spotted a few things for baking and food presentation while I was in Manhattan that I will grab on my next visit. Remark that not all their products are shown online.

The leather suede pot holder is available in rust, light brown and grey. Matching suede cooking mitts are available; they are sold per hand at the store. The Biscotti jar is filled with the Italian cookies. The artful black-and-white drawing is their SoHo NYC store.

For the wine connoisseur, get a hand-blown glass Tastevin made in Spain. The perfectly size and shape enable you to fully evaluate the wine. You can see, smell and taste the wine before serving it to your guests.

The Perfect Risotto Gift Basket makes an outstanding housewarming gift. Packed inside is:

  • a box of carnaroli rice, preferred for its creamy, yet firm texture;
  • a Ligurian extra-virgin olive oil bottle;
  • a bag of pungent and woodsy dried porcini mushrooms;
  • fragrant Spanish saffron;
  • a classic risotto stainless steel pan made by Paderno and a cherrywood stirring spoon.

The only things missing are a bottle of white Vermouth, fresh onions and celery. If you go camping, bring this risotto gift set and you are sure to not forget anything.

I want the Round Cutter Set because its contains 11 graduated sizes so it covers all the cutting bases for cookies, rolls, puff pastry, biscuits and tea sandwiches. And the stainless steel construction is top notch.

About Dean & DeLuca

Joel Dean and Giorgio DeLuca traipsed around the world to find artisan-produced foods and the best local produces. The St. Helena store in the Napa Valley is unique in many ways. They take extra steps to more promote produces by local farmers, local artisan cheeses plus 1400 Californian wines. I plan a visit during my trip to the Californian Wine Country.

Dean & DeLuca has 9 retail stores and cafés around New York City. People from the Napa Valley, Kansas, North Carolina and Washington, D.C. can enjoy their Dean & DeLuca. Their concept was exported to Japan and Taiwan.

While I was in New York, a girl friend texted me to ask me if I went to Dean & DeLuca because it is her favorite NY store. It was on my schedule that day. Now, I comprehend her love affairs with this store.

Buy online: Dean & DeLuca Brown Suede Pot Holder – price: $10 USD
Buy online: Dean & DeLuca Suede Cooking Mitts – price: $55 a pair, $27 one hand
Buy online: Biscotti Pottery Jar at Dean & DeLuca – price: $60 USD on sale
Buy online: Tastevin – price: $28 USD
Buy online: Perfect Risotto at Dean & DeLuca – price: $185 USD
Buy online: Round Cutter Set – price: $16 USD
Learn more: Dean & DeLuca’s Store Locations

ENTERTAINING EVERYDAY entertaining FOOD + DRINK FOOD presentation RECIPES + menus

Revisiting the Sandwich Box

sandwich box

Sandwiches are the ideal food for many occasions. To raise the bar, why not serving them in a more fashionable way?

One definite way to grab your guests’ attention is to reproduce at home how they serve your sandwich at Sandwich Box in Toronto.

Ever since my last trip to Toronto, I am dreaming of Sandwich Box. I could not eat there at that time because I just ate lunch minutes before. So I had to skip.

An upscale sandwich

The concept behind Sandwich Box is to serve gourmet sandwiches at a fast food price. But before I spot the freshness and the excellent quality of their ingredients, what strikes the designer in me was the way the sandwiches are served?

Again you see that attention to details goes a long way. A white, logo free rectangular carton box hosts your sandwich and apparently, a small mesclun salad. The more elegant clear plastic cutlery and an extra-thick paper napkin complete your place setting.

Setting up a buffet table

I would pre-make the gourmet sandwiches, place a piece of parchment paper (or wax paper) and layout inside the box two sandwich pieces so we can see the toppings. Neatly arrange the boxes in row and columns. You can label the boxes, if you want to be more ornamental. You can do the same for a picnic.

Install a self-serve salad bar next to the sandwich table. Prepare between one and three salads, depending on the number of guests. Vegetable platters are always popular, especially with sandwiches. Insert the veggies into individual paper cones. Shooters can be used as private dipping sauce.

If you want, you can serve a soup before, on a self-serve manner. Either way, your guests should be impressed with all these details.

The menu at Sandwich Box

The pre-made sandwich menu is the tip of the iceberg at Sandwich Box. They carry 14 kinds of bakery breads (zoom on the picture to list the list), 7 spreads, 7 meats, 7 vegetables and 7 cheeses. Since a custom made sandwich is composed of 1 type of bread, 1 spread and 3 toppings, Sandwich Box proposes to you exactly 130,340 possibilities.

Prices vary between $3.50 for a simple egg salad to $6.25 for a grilled vegetables, pesto and Asiago cheese sandwich up to $7.35 for a made to order sandwich. Next month, I am going twice in Toronto. So hopefully I can tell you if the taste matches the look.

Learn more: Sandwich Box


The Holiday Shopping Party at Dish Cooking Studio is now


I am catching up my blog reading. This news by Bargainista may interest you. But hurry up!

You still have until 4 pm today to chat with Trish Magwood and enjoy a 15% off on Dish Entertains cookbook and selected items in the store. Plus, you can get a 2 for 1 promotion on cooking classes.

Cross some names out of Christmas shopping list with their unique pantry essentials, cook tools and gift cards. You can stock up some hostess gifts and remove the stress when you are invited this Holiday at parties.

Location: Dish Cooking Studio at 390 Dupont Street in Toronto | 416.920.5559

Via: Shopping party at dish sounds delish on Bargainista