Massimo Vidoni, the founder and the CEO of ItalTouch and is known as “the Truffle Man” thanks to his expertise in importing the most delicate and sought-after fungi – truffles. Massimo is often seen in the company of top chefs in Dubai as well as local and international celebrities and promotes the truffle movement with his #PushTruffles hashtag on social media. We admire Massimo’s work and are very excited that he agreed to share his love for food and top quality ingredients in our interview.
What makes truffles so special and exclusive?
Truffles are special and exclusive as it is nearly impossible to farm them especially the white type- nobody has found a way to farm it yet. The season is short and it’s very hard to find them.
How do truffles improve a plate?
Truffles are known to be king of the kitchen and considered to be a key/top ingredient. A simple risotto, fresh egg tagliatelle pasta and sunny side up egg with few grams shaved truffles will make it taste completely phenomenal.
Are the Do’s and Don’t’s in handling truffles or combining them with other ingredients?
Do’s:➢ To be used as fast as possible.➢ To prolong the shelf life, wrap in paper towel and store in a sealed container to be kept in refrigerator at 3°C.➢ Combining it with butter and anything fatty will bring great results as flavor spreads throughout the dish.➢ Shave thinly on your dish to have a bigger surface and to have more aroma.
Don’t’s:➢ Combining it with spices or ingredients with strong flavor such as saffron and hot pepper is not suggested as it will put them in conflict. Truffles are supposed to be enjoyed as the main ingredient.
What types of truffles are there and which ones do you bring to UAE?
Out of 1,600 known species of truffles, there are 3 major categories/kinds of truffles; nature provides fresh truffles all year long. The best are White Alba Truffles.
King of the truffles is White truffle (Tuber Magnatum Pico) from Alba or Tuscany. The white truffle is a wild tuber and nobody yet found a way to farm it. This is the most pungent flavour and season dominates the kitchen from late September to late December. It’s implemented from many culinary dishes.
Black Winter truffle (Tuber Melanosporum) grows in Italy, Spain and France. The season starts from late November to early March widely used in Italian but mostly in French cuisines. It goes very well with fish and meat.
Summer Truffle (Tuber Aestivum) mostly found in the South of Europe and widely used to garnish dishes throughout the world. The season starts from June to September. It goes with anything & is great to see chefs of different culture like Mediterranean, American, and Asian using it in their recipes.
Some truffles sell for thousands of dollars, what determines the price?
Demand and offer is what determines the price. There is a truffle market and prices changes almost daily.The size, quality and flavor also are important.
What are your personal favorite recipes with truffles?
My favourite dishes are white truffle on sunny side up egg or on fresh tagliolini with butter; black winter truffle is amazing on lobster with truffle reductions and truffle sauce, and summer truffle on meat carpaccio.
What other truffle products are available?
We have Carpaccio (truffle shavings), black and white truffle oil, truffle sauces and etc. The Chefs play with these ingredients along with fresh truffles to create great cuisine/dishes. Depends on what they want to do and depends on culture.
If someone wanted to try some dishes with truffles, what restaurants and plates would you recommend?
There are so many restaurants using truffles in Dubai and most of them are my clients. All the top Chefs are using it creatively. I suggest you to try them all and also feel free to find me in my showroom in Al Quoz to see our products and chat about truffles. I will definitely recommend a few recipes and dishes to try.
Visit Massimo’s website ItalTouch to know more about truffles and other products he brings to United Arab Emirates and follow him on Instagram @TruffleManDubai for daily updates on the Italian’s daily gastronomical adventures.