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How to Eat Black Truffles

Jan 26, 2011
Pier Bussetti, guest chef at Domani, tells us how to best appreciate the black truffle »
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Over the past few months, Hong Kong's culinary world focused on white truffles, from almost daily promotions to white truffle auctions that netted over HK$1 million.

Read more about the 12th World White Truffle of Alba Auction here.

But now it is time for black truffles to shine: Domani, one of Hong Kong’s best Italian restaurants, recently brought over guest chef Pier Bussetti of Ristorante Pier Bussetti al Castello di Govone in Piedmont, Italy to prepare a special one-night-only black truffle dinner.

Read more about Pier Bussetti here.

During his visit, Bussetti also gives his tips to Asian Palate - website of our resident wine expert Jeannie Cho Lee, Master of Wine - on how to pair Italian wine with Cantonese food, the differences between black and white truffles and his favourite local Hong Kong dishes.

Read more about pairing wines with Cantonese food here.

Asian Palate: Acidity is often regarded one of the key considerations in Italian food and wine pairing. What is your opinion about the key considerations when pairing different cuisines with Italian wines? Any pairing tips for Italian wine with Cantonese food?

Pier Bussetti: Italy is well-known for her numerous native grapes; which makes wine pairing with different cuisines and flavours an interesting and full-of-surprises exercise. During my time in Hong Kong, I've tasted several Chinese dishes; I was most impressed by the Peking duck which I really loved. I would have liked to pair it with a glass of Barolo from my native Piedmont: maybe a SorÏ Ginestra by my old friend Conterno Fantino wine maker in Monforte d'Alba.

AP: White truffles are well-known in Hong Kong. How is black truffle different from white? How do you determine quality for black truffles? How are black truffles best served?

PB: The white truffle season ends just at the end of November although you can still find some afterwards if it doesn't snow much during fall. Black truffle is in season right now. With its many varieties, all black truffles have a thick rind whilst whites don't have it at all. That's why black truffles give their best if peeled first before cooking. White truffles must not be peeled at all to give its best for hot dishes preparations - the scent spreads much better. Quality is determined basically in the same way: it has to be hard, with a strong scent, and possibly clean. Cleanliness is key such that you can spot potential defects and make sure you pay only for the truffle, not sand and soil. Black truffle gives its best in red sauces and should be paired with wines that go well with red meat and wildfowl.

AP: What inspired you to create a black truffle wine dinner in Hong Kong? Do you have plans to come back again soon?

PB: Seasonality is the main reason. Right now my restaurants in Italy are all featuring a black truffle menu. White and black truffles are a regional pride in Piedmont and it's my pleasure to showcase Piedmontese treasures to the world. In a couple of months' time, I will probably be here again to prepare a new tasting menu for Domani.

AP: What are your favourite local Hong Kong dishes and ingredients?

PB: Dim-sum like shrimp and pork dumplings, tofu (especially those from my trip to Lamma) and glazed duck noodles in assorted broths.For more information, please visit Asian Palate.

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