Daniel Boulud's Truffle Dinner in The Bahamas
Total bragging moment: I attended the Truffle Season Celebration Dinner at Cafe Boulud The Bahamas and met celebrity chef Daniel Boulud!
Chef Daniel posted exciting details on his Instagram account @danielboulud
Périgord Black Truffles and Alba White Truffles were the main attraction of the lavish five-course dinner. Each course was paired with meticulously selected fine wines. I'm still in awe that I was able to attend this dinner event. But I like to treat myself to luxurious experiences once in a while. After all, you only live once. So I saved up for this big moment. And my takeaway? Absolutely priceless.
The evening kicked off with Huré Frères champagne and canapés at the Rosewood Gardens, just a few steps outside the restaurant. The manicured lawn, ingeniously concealed by tall hedges and trees, was dotted with elegantly dressed cocktail tables and brightened by a festive string of lights. Soft jazz music completed the convivial atmosphere. I effortlessly made new acquaintances and happily bumped into familiar faces.
I joined a friendly foursome (Ina, Gerard, Ginger, and Romano— all local residents) and we chatted about the intimate outdoor reception. . . the lovely set-up, the elegant ambience, and the extraordinarily pleasant weather. It was comfortably cool and breezy for a mid-November evening in Nassau. Hard to believe we were still two weeks away from ending the hurricane season.
Before inviting the crowd to begin the dinner, Chef Daniel briefly spoke and confessed the truffles almost didn’t make it. That’s when it hit me. I'm about to indulge in something truly special. Along with fellow attendees, I bee-lined to the restaurant.
Chef Daniel Boulud giving a brief speech at the cocktail reception.
I ran into General Manager Laurent Piedallu and asked about my seat designation. “You’ll be between two tables so you can easily socialize with guests sitting next to you,” he assured me. An usher led me to my assigned spot at the patio area, in a section dedicated to tables for two.
To my right sat Dean and his wife Marsha Doll. They’re an energetic couple that intrigued me from earlier that night. Like me, they arrived promptly at 6pm. The restaurant doors were still closed but inside, a photo shoot was in progress. I witnessed all this from the sitting area across the main entry.
Through the glass doors, I spied Chef Daniel Boulud standing on a step stool, giving creative directions for a last-minute team shot. When Dean and Marsha tried to walk in, an usher redirected them to the event’s cocktail reception outside.
“But it’s windy. Can’t go out there with this,” Marsha comically pointed to her signature avant-garde hairdo. Made me giggle. I badly wanted to meet her! I'm so glad she sat right next to me. She's as fun as I thought she'd be. Turns out, she's the owner of Marsha Doll Models, a modeling agency.
Back to the dinner event. . . The first course set off the multi-course dinner with a bang. The Spiny Lobster starter was served with Périgord Black Truffles. Everything on the plate was incredible, down to the potato chip-like celeriac fritter. And the wine! The highly rated Saint-Joseph white wine was the perfect pairing.
With every course, the managing staff gave a prelude, explaining the dish and the accompanying wine. With masks on, they personally came to each table to add a fresh truffle shaving over each dish.
It wasn’t surprising that the second course was pasta— Agnolotti with Tomme de Savoie, Porcini, and Confit Egg Yolk. Alba White truffles are known to be great with pasta and egg dishes. Once the truffle shavings were added, I had to pause and deeply breathe in the intense aroma. Marsha and Dean at the next table were also taking a big whiff, ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the deliciousness.
The following course was Dover Sole in Cabbage Fondue and Sauce Poulette (a classic French sauce that is creamy and made with mushrooms). This dish was served with the Périgord Black Truffles once again. The fish was excellently cooked— succulent and so tender, it cut like butter.
The dinner’s crowning point was the next course— the glorious Tournedos Rossini, enhanced by Périgord Black Truffles. I’ve had this classic entree here before. (It's one of the restaurant's signature menu items and I wrote about it here.) But tonight’s presentation was slightly different. This time, it seemed it included a more generous Foie Gras topping and it was plated in nouvelle cuisine style.
Phillip and John, local residents like me, were at the table to my left. We raved about the delightful evening, the superb food and wine. “I really like this one,” John held up his glass with Saint-Estephe Bordeaux, that was paired with the Tournedos Rossini masterpiece.
I was visibly the only guest in the entire venue sitting at a table by myself.
“Were you afraid to come alone?” John couldn’t help but ask.
“Not at all!”
If there’s anyone who's not afraid of attending major events alone, it’s this girl. I was having a fabulous time!
I enjoyed interacting with some of the personable staff around me but I didn’t see Executive Chef David Lepage amidst all the action. I bet he was either attending to guests in the main dining room, which was away from my view, or busy making magic behind the scenes. He’s very passionate about his craft. (I wrote a chef profile on him here.)
For the grand finale, I had the most wonderful surprise. Chef Daniel Boulud himself approached my table to shave Alba White Truffles over my decadent Mont Blanc dessert! I snapped a photo before he dashed to another table.
The highest point of the evening was my one-on-one with Chef Daniel. I had a wee minute to compliment him on his Bahamas restaurant and his amazing team. Getting a photo with him was an added bonus. What a night!
I did my homework to fully appreciate this truffle season celebration. Périgord Black Truffles or black winter truffles are typically from France and can be found in the winter months through March. The Alba White Truffles, on the other hand, are from Italy and available only from September to December. These prized mushrooms taste best when fresh.
Both seasonal and rare (explains why they're expensive), these truffles are highly sought-after for their powerful earthy flavors and bold aroma that elevate any dish. They grow underground near the roots of specific types of trees and can be found with the help of truffle-hunting pigs or specially trained dogs.
Well, thanks to Daniel Boulud for making these hard-to-find tubers accessible to me. I didn’t have to travel all the way to Europe nor get the help of truffle-foraging pigs. I found them in The Bahamas popular for swimming pigs instead.
Daniel Boulud's Truffle Season Dinner event went like this.
Here's the complete list of the Five-Course Truffle Dinner and the Wine Pairing.