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Galvin Brasserie de Luxe Masterclass - Truffle Risotto with Wine!
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Galvin Brasserie de Luxe
Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian,,
Rutland Street,
City of Edinburgh,
EH1 2AB.
T0131 222 8988

To me, like mashed potato, risotto is a comfort food. There is something warming about the silky, creamy rice dish; it's a soothing hug for the culinary soul. It can be a luxurious treat, a light spring lunch with a glass of something cold and even an unconventional dessert. Hey, no-one told me you can’t have a risotto rice pud!

So when I was invited to attend a Truffle and Wine Masterclass at Galvin Brasserie de Luxe at the Cally, I'm not one to say no, even though this Italian classic is made on a regular basis at Chez Bunny. Plus the fact I love truffles, the perfect earthy addition - simple, decadent, autumnal.

We arrive early and are seated at a communal table where at one end is a large pot waiting to transform a few ingredients into something special. I had always thought that making risotto for a crowd was a tricky business and that it should be made in small batches; I was about to learn different. The table fills up and chef Jamie takes to his stage with a grin and exuberant enthusiasm for the knobbly fungi. He explains that for this dish, he would be using truffle in three states - minced folded into the rice, oil for drizzling and raw, sliced thinly as garnish. Handing round slivers of the aromatic nub, we are joined by Jamie's wine wingman, Max who explains about the three wines we will taste during the class.

Jamie begins by pouring melted butter over Arborio rice he had put into the pan, stirring well to seal each grain. In chef terms, this is called polishing (far more interesting than doing the silver). Next hot stock is added to just cover the rice. I ask about adding wine; shrugging, he says that he doesn't use wine in the risotto, but if you have an open bottle, then go for it. I always glug in a glass or two (the more the merrier), but it isn't essential. We are also informed that, when adding liquid, it shouldn't' hiss and fizz. As the stock evaporates, more is added; again just to cover. It is also a bit of a fallacy that you should stand over the pot stirring continually while it cooks. After all Delia bakes hers in the oven!

While it's cooking, Max pours out the first of the wines - Montagny 1er Cru, Cuvée Les Grappes d’Or, Feuillat Juillot, a white Burgundy; citrus hints and subtle minerality that I thought would be perfect with the risotto. As we sipped and swirled, Jamie adds sweated off shallot and garlic to the pot, tasting as he goes, checking the consistency of the rice. It doesn't want to be too sloppy, as you want the cheese to emulsify. The more you use, the more liquid you will need. It's a balancing act - you don't want a thick, stodgy mass slapped onto the plate, neither do you want a gloopy soup. The rice needs to retain some bite, but without a hint of chalkiness.

The last step before we can get stuck in, is the addition of the minced truffle, a scattering of herbs, (Jamie uses chives, chervil and parsley) then a quick flick of the wrist to combine everything together. Warm bowls are filled, a sprtiz of truffle oil and a sliver or two of fresh and we are done, ready to delve into the heady, woodland-fragranced dish. 

Jamie also suggests adding cream, mascarpone or even crowdie for extra richness. Risotto is an accommodating thing; adding a few young broad beans, asparagus and peas, you have Primavera. Adding squid ink and cuttlefish (if you can get them) or baby squid you will have made Risotto Nero. I like this with scallops and a few plump, pink prawns for a stunning colour contrast. 
Max pours out the remaining wine, this time both are red; Roero Matteo Correggia, Piedmont, berry fruits with a final burst of mineral and  Chateau Peyrabon Cru Bourgeois rich with black fruitiness, speckled with tannins. 

With the three wines in front of me and a bowl of unctuousness, I tentatively dip in my fork. I love the rich aroma, and consider which wine to try with my first mouthful. I plump for the white. I like the way the forest floor mingles with the stony extract of the chardonnay. For me this is the perfect match. The reds, although very fine, just didn't suit my palate with this particular dish. Talking with the other guests, it was interesting to find out the wine they preferred with the risotto. Some like me, found the Burgundy perfect, while others preferred the reds. Each to their own.
As the evening draws to a close, Jamie and Max leave us to finish our wines and conversations. 

Galvin Brasserie de Luxe run several different masterclasses including cheese, oysters and the next one is Autumn Beer (Thursday 26th October), where Jamie will prepare three dishes featuring pumpkin and squashes while sommelier, Damien pairs a few ales to quaff. For £19.50 per person, these Masterclasses are a cracking deal. So book your seats before they fill up! (L. Harris AKA Bakers Bunny to some) 

www.galvinbrasseriedeluxe.com/s/232/masterclasses-edinburgh-ScotlandEmail: [email protected]

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