Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Tale Of Alba White Truffles

I always know how lucky I am to be doing what I am doing for a living. Yesterday was one of those exceptional days and it inspired me to write a tale of white truffles. I co-hosted a white truffle cooking demo and lunch presented by Gaggenau and Bonta. Hosted by Chef Luca Pezzera (co-owner Bonta, located at UE Square), the event took place at the Gagganau Experience Center. The Gaggenau Experience Center is not just a showroom, but a functioning state-of-the-art kitchen designed to showcase its range of cutting-edge products to architects, interior designers and homeowners. (I will talk more about Gaggenau in my next entry.)

Every September, gourmands all over the world await with much anticipation for the white truffle (tartufo bianco) season to begin. A culinary gem that renowned 18th century epicure, Brillat-Savarin, called the “diamond of the kitchen”, white truffles are costly because of its rarity. It only grows underground, cannot be cultivated, and are best found in the damp woods of Langhe in Alba, Italy. White truffles are the most aromatic and flavourful of all truffle species and is far too delicate for cooking, hence always served fresh; shaved raw over warm or cold dishes.

Comparatively, black truffles, which are more affordable and abundant, can withstand cooking. White truffles must be eaten within 3-4 days after they are dug out. Usually sold by the gram at about S$9,000 per kilogram, the white truffle is sought by truffle hunters accompanied dogs to sniff it out.

Sven Szensy, Marketing Director for Gaggenau, with Chef Luca Pezzera of Bonta.

Chef Luca Pezzera has been sharing the art of cooking and eating the stunning white truffles with his guests every year. We had the luxury of him preparing this special white truffles meal for us. We drank G.H.Mumm Vintage 1999 (vintage champers make a great pairing) in Zwiesel 1872 handmade crystal glasses. Truly a decadent day and I love my job.

Green asparagus with fried egg, sage and Alba white truffle

Homemade angel hair with Parmesan cheese sauce and white truffle

Grilled veal tenderloin medallion
with sautéed spinach, crispy Speck ham, Barolo glaze and white truffle

Vanilla Floating island with brown butter and white truffle

The best way to enjoy white truffles is to keep the dishes simple. My all time favourites are the asparagus with fried egg and the homemade angel hair pasta. However, I have a new favourite in the form of a dessert. It is my first time having a dessert with white truffle and it blew me away. Never did I imagine that white truffle will work with something sweet too.

If you would like to enjoy some of these yummy dishes, head on down to Bonta. Season started in mid September and will last through to mid December. :)

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