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Source: Luxury Travel Magazine

Truffles, once in abundance and widely used, have become one of the most rare and exclusive natural foods in the world. Indulge in these delicacies at these exclusive luxury hotels: Beau-Rivage Palace, Hotel Hassler Roma, Algodon Wine Estate and Baur au Lac.

Anne-Sophie Pic, the new star chef at Lausanne, Switzerland's Beau-Rivage Palace, Lausanne and France's only female chef with three Michelin stars, has created a special New Year's Eve menu around truffles, available only December 31, 2009 at Anne-Sophie Pic at the Beau-Rivage Palace. Using the inventiveness and refinement for which she is renowned, Pic's creations include fondue with white truffles from Alba, Brittany scallops cooked with black truffles, and for dessert, black forest cream cake with black truffles.

Using the rarest and most expensive white truffles from Italy's Alba region, Hotel Hassler Roma Imago's Michelin-star Chef Francesco Apreda has created a Tartufo Bianco menu devoted entirely to white truffles--appetizers, first courses, main courses and desserts. The menu includes home-made tagliolini pasta with artichoke cream and truffles, warm scallop carpaccio, goat cheese risotto with pumpkin, bitter almonds and truffles, and, for dessert, caramelized walnut ice cream with mango, chocolate and white truffles. The menu is currently available, but will only last through the end of Italy's truffle season, around mid-December.

Algodon Wine Estates, Mendoza, Argentina's premier wine and golf estate, will soon be among the first truffle harvesters in Argentina. Producing truffles in Latin America is extremely rare, with the only large truffle plantations in the Talca region of Chile. Algodon Wine Estates (located in San Rafael, Mendoza, an area with the same latitude and climate as Talca) will plant 25 acres of oak trees, with a full crop of truffles estimated to be ready in five years. Once harvested, the truffles will be supplied to the national market in Argentina and will also be used in dishes on site at Algodon Wine Estates' restaurant and at Chez Nous, the restaurant at Algodon Wine Estates' sister property in Buenos Aires, Algodon Mansion. Additionally, owners at Algodon Wine Estates will have the choice to own a section of the truffle plantation and essentially become truffle producers themselves. The main truffles harvested will be winter black truffles, with summer black truffles to follow.

When speaking of the richness and uniqueness of truffles, it just wouldn't be right to leave out the chocolate variety. Packaged in a special box that Mr. Walt Disney himself manufactured for the Baur au Lac, Zurich after a stay in 1969, the Baur au Lac's ganache-truffles are made by the renowned Swiss factory, Sprüngli, and are rated "number one" out of all the factory's candies.

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