There are base camps, boot camps, band camps, and low-rent gatherings in faraway locations for every sport known. But what if you want to ditch the grind and shack up somewhere idyllic and secluded so you can really focus on... truffles? What kind of options would you have? As fate – and Chef Ken Frank – would have it, there is exactly one: Truffle Camp in Napa Valley.
Chef Frank is the owner and culinary mind behind Napa's La Toque
, one of but a dozen restaurants in the world to have a truffle menu. To begin your initiation into the arcane world of gourmet fungi – and distinguishing your Italian tuber magnatum pico
from your French tuber uncinatum
– you'll fly to Napa and settle into your room in the in the Westin Verasa
. The first night you'll relax, to be ready for your first 3-hour truffle-laden cooking lesson under Chef Frank's tutelage the next morning.
Afterward, Chef will take you on a tour of Long Meadow Ranch to sample the local farm's delicacies. The next day begins with another 3-hour truffle extravaganza, followed by a tour of a private winery and barrel tastings with Chef Frank and La Toque's wine director, Scott Tracy. The evening concludes with an "All Truffle Dinner," paired with Tracy's wine selections. And you're not finished there: to properly prepare you for return to native lands, you'll be fed a truffle omelet breakfast and then plied with goodies to take home.
The camp runs from January 17-19, 2010. No, it doesn't have the awkward tenderness of a few weeks spent in a dorm with the tuba section, but you'll probably enjoy reminiscing about it a great deal more.