Culinary Black Diamonds

3 Photos

Truffles can be found in the hinterlands of Istria, a diamond-shaped peninsula in the Adriatic Sea, as well as the rolling landscape of Tuscany’s lush green hills, that are interlaced with vineyards, olive groves and pine forests.

One of the best condiments that can be used in the kitchen, truffles are considered an expensive delicacy. There are several different types: the highly sought-after black truffle, the garlicky-flavoured white truffle, the smaller Asian truffle, and the terfez truffle, which can be found in certain regions of North Africa and the Middle East.

For the majority of these tasty treasures, December marks either the beginning, or the end, of truffle hunting season. Unfortunately not everyone has time to explore the richest grounds for premium white or black truffles, but someone has to bring fist-sized truffles to the market and, eventually, Dubai’s finest restaurants.

“Truffles can entice anyone with their unique, hearty aroma that’s pleasantly overshadowed by a surprising delicacy,” says Andy Toh Chye Siong, chef de cuisine at Hakkasan Dubai. “The fragrances a truffle adds to a dish are unlike any other ingredient and its unique aroma is what makes it so desirable for chefs, as well as some households for special occasions.”

But why are they so expensive? “They are difficult to grow,” he explains, “hard to find in the wild, and are in decline because of climate change and habitat loss. They’re very high in demand.” Dubai’s restaurants pay testament to this, with celebratory seasonal menus and various products such as oils, salts and honey. However, Toh Chye Siong argues that, “the best way to serve truffles is by using this amazing ingredient in its purest form and without changing the natural characteristics and its textures.”

Got a taste? Here are MOJEH’s favourite Dubai-based restaurants that serve truffles.

Hakkasan, Jumeirah Emirates Towers
Michelin Star award-winning Hakkasan offers modern Cantonese cuisine and opulent, sophisticated interior design.
What to try: The succulent black truffle roasted duck or charcoal grilled black cod smothered in rich truffle sauce.

Zuma, DIFC
Zuma follows the Japanese izakaya style of dining, when food is served to share in an informal, yet sophisticated style.
What to try: Suzuki no osashimi – thinly sliced sea bass drenched with truffle oil, yuzu and salmon roe.

Alta Badia, Jumeirah Emirates Towers
A delicate blend of authentic Italian cuisine and an elegant ambience, enjoy delectable dishes at Alta Badia.
What to try: The burrata al tartufo dish boasts slithers of delicious black truffle, to be followed by the creste di coda di bue.