By: Journalist Margaux A. Cintrano
Photo Copyright: Pierchicdubai, Massimo Vidoni
Engimatic, intoxicating and seductive, are three words used to describe these culinary gifts defining the Ingredients, the white truffle, the black winter truffle and the black summer truffle. Massimo Vidoni, The Truffle Man of Italtouch in Dubai, is going to tell us a little bit about these amazingly extraordinary gourmet treasures.
Margaux: Massimo, it is such an honor to have an Interview from you. Could you please tell us, what or who were the catalysts, that motivated your profound interest in Truffles ?
Massimo: When, I was a child, I had discovered the art of truffles, when I accompanied my uncle. The early morning preparation and going to the mountains, with the dogs, is where my profound interest really started.
Once the dog pointed to the location where there could of been a possible truffle, it was like a gold rush for me, being well versed in how difficult it was to find truffles. I had started to think of the commercial business end of trading, buying and selling this bespoken gift of Mother Nature and I had gotten hooked !
It has always fascinated me, how people spend so much money for a mere few grams of truffles. So, I had begun to bring truffles to Chefs and Restaurateurs, who would be the real promoters and skipping the “middle-men”. It is a grand pleasure to collaborate with professional Chefs.
Margaux: Could you tell our audience, what are the main types of truffles, where they are from and how are they implemented in the culinary arts ?
Massimo: For me, there are four major categories of truffles, which nature provides all year long.
The “King of Truffles” is the White Truffle (Tuber Magnatum Pico) from Alba, Piedmont or Tuscany. The white truffle is a wild tuber and nobody to date, has found a way to farm them. The most pungent flavour and the season dominate the kitchen from late September through late December. It is implemented in a wide variety of culinary dishes.
The Black Winter Truffle ( Tuber Melanosporum) grows in Italy, Spain and France. The season starts from late November, and goes through early March. Predominately used in Italian and French regional gastronomy. It pairs exceptionally well with fish and meat. As for its cousin, The Australian Black Winter Truffle, the main nuance, is that it is farmed in the Southern Hemisphere from June to August. It is commonly used in French cuisine.
The Summer Truffle (Tuber Aestivum) mostly found in the South of Europe, and is widely used to garnish dishes worldwide. The season begins from June through September. It pairs extraordinarily with almost anything including pastas, pizzas and potatoes.
Margaux: What are your favorite dishes utilising truffles ?
Massimo: One of my favorite dishes is the White Truffle on a sunny side up egg, or on fresh tagliolini with butter. Another penchant of mine is Black Winter Truffle on Lobster with truffle reductions in a truffle sauce and last but not least, Summer Truffles, on Beef Carpaccio. Margaux: What were the main reasons for relocating from Italy to Dubai ?
Massimo: I actually spent eight-teen years in Manhattan, doing the same thing more or less. I was importing and selling truffles directly to the top Chefs and Restaurateurs. In 2011, I had the opportunity to visit Dubai, and it seemed like “The New Las Vegas”. Amazing hotels, beautiful restaurants, no taxes and nobody doing “truffle trading” properly. After two months, I decided to open Italtouch, Dubai.
Margaux: Tell our readers about what other delicacies Italtouch sources.
Massimo: Trading truffles has made me “popular” in the circle of Chefs and I have maintained an excellent rapport with most of the top chefs here in Dubai. I have added a line of caviar, foie gras de canard, Halal Charcuterie, Balsamic Vinegars, Vegetables, Rices, and Pasta. All top quality standard and are branded Italtouch.
Margaux: If money were not a problem, tell us what is your gastronomic dream trip ?
Massimo: I would fly off to Massimo Bottura in Modena, Italy, Joan Roca in Girona, Spain, Alain Ducasse in France, Rene Redzepi in Copenhagen, Denmark, Daniel Humm & Daniel Boulud in Manhattan, and Thomas Keller at The French Laundry in Napa Valley.
Thank you for the opportunity to share what “floats my boat” and my passions and profound interest in truffles.