A very special delivery was made Thursday when Caci North Fork in Southold received what is believed to be one of the largest truffle deliveries ever made in the U.S.
Done4NY, the food import company that delivers truffles to the restaurant said the 80 pounds Cacci received is on the level of only what an eatery outside the country might receive.
“No restaurant, except in France, orders 80 pounds,” said Francesca Sparvoli of Done4NY. “The average is between two-to-seven pounds at a time.”
Sparvoli, who is known as “The Truffle Lady,”and partner Marco Bassi deliver truffles, flown in from Italy, to the North Fork from New York City every other week.
Done4NY imports three types of truffles. Right now it is the summer truffle, which grows from June to September. Black on the outside, with a brown interior, it has a shelf life of about 16 days and is considered less perishable than the rarer black, winter truffle or the even rarer and very expensive white truffle, which lasts for only five to six days.
The smell of the summer truffle is also subtler and more mushroom-like than other truffles and only releases its flavor when cooked, according to Caci executive chef Marco Pellegrini.
“This is the only truffle that requires cooking,” Pellegrini said. “The white truffle can be served raw, but the summer truffle is better cooked, because it’s milder.”
“They grow closer to the surface, just a few inches underground,” Bassi said. “That’s why their smell is not as pungent as the white truffle, which grows almost a foot below ground.”
There is also quite a difference in price between truffles. While costs vary, the current price of summer truffles is about $95 a pound, while white truffles can range between $2,000 to $3,500 a pound.
On Thursday morning Sparvoli and Bassi met their truffle delivery at JFK Airport, after it had flown in from Umbria. Picked barely 48 hours earlier, the truffles arrived carefully packaged to retain their freshness. By 10:30 a.m. they were in the Caci kitchen, being inspected by Pellegrini, who explained why he ordered so many.
“During the summer we serve three dishes with summer truffles; the beef carpaccio, filet mignon and our most popular dish, the homemade ravioli with buffalo ricotta and truffle sauce,” Pellegrini said. “Once that sauce is made, we freeze it to last the rest of the year, so we can serve our ravioli year-round.”
Caci also combines shavings of the summer truffle with olive oil,which is poured over the filet mignon. In the fall, the menu is reduced to just one truffle dish, the ravioli.
Caci North Fork is located at 56125 Main Road in Southold. For more information call (631) 765-4383 or visit cacinorthfork.com.