The Opening King Truffle Gala Dinner for the Italian Cuisine World Summit in Hong Kong was spectacular. Michelin starred chefs Pier Bussetti, Giovanni Grasso, Ignor Macchia, Marco Sacco and Sergio Vineis of Piemote were flown in to prepare a menu celebrating the white truffles of San Damiano d’Asti, which were personally selected by the famed truffle Hunter Franco Canta.
White truffles are extremely seasonal and difficult to obtain, and are in a league of their own compared to regular black truffles. They’re also extremely expensive. A 1.5 kilo (3.3lb) white truffle recently sold for US$330,000. As of Dec 2009, the Tuber magnatum truffles were sold at over 10,000 Euros per kilo. So given the rarity and cost for white truffles, being fortunate enough to have landed a seat at a white truffle dinner cooked by five different Michelin starred chefs was an experience like no other.
Giovanni Grasso and Igor Macchia cooked a classic Piemonte Fassone meat tartar with lobster, goose liver and shaved white truffle, followed by Pier Bussetti who did a lovely white truffle risotto with caramelized apple, fresh marjoram finished with egg yolk. The main entree of sausage, PDO Grana Padano cheese and plums stuffed quail with Nebbiolo grape wine sauce and shaved white truffles by Sergio Vineis was to die for. I would have flown to Italy just for this one dish–my favourite of the night. I also found Marco Sacco’s Sabayon with Piemonte’s typical crumbled cake and shaved white truffles extremely interesting–I’ve never had white truffles on a dessert, but it definitely worked for me.
Coupled with a nice selection of Italian wines including a nice Barolo Preve Riserva Gianni Gagliardo 2004, a Barolo Chinato Gianni Gagliardo NV, Barbera D’Alba DOC Sovrana Beni di Batasiolo 2008, etc., the Gala Dinner of the Italian Cuisine World Summit definitely lived up to expectations, and was a great way to sample the work of some of the top Italian Michelin chefs in the world without the trip over to Italy.