ALBA or winter white truffles sell for as much as $6,000 to $10,000 per pound, making them and their fellow ectomycorrhizal fungi the most expensive food item in the world. This culinary gem finds its way to the Newport Mall as Resorts World Manila (RWM) stages its first-ever Truffle Festival, which runs until September 30.
Participating Newport Mall and RWM restaurants serve truffle-inspired dishes throughout the duration of the gastronomic event, and this year’s roster includes Parmigiano Ristorante Pizzeria, LUMU Filipino Kitchen, The Red Crab Alimango House, Italianni’s, RWM’s Impressions, UCC and Mr. Kurosawa.
“The popularity of the truffle is, in large part, because of its rarity. Despite technological advances, we still have not found a way to grow them and produce them,” said Director for Corporate Communications Joee Guilas at the recent launch of the monthlong festival at RWM’s EL Calle Food and Music Hall.
He continued, “There have been some success in cultivating them to encourage their growth but for most part, it all boils down to soil condition. As far as I know, truffles have not yet been found in the Philippines. The truffles we have here have been flown in from France and Italy.”
Edible truffles are held in high esteem in international haute cuisine because they grow entirely underground, making them difficult to farm. Also, you can only find them in very specific kinds of soil and trees as they have long-eluded techniques of domestication. Because of this, truffles are used sparingly. Supplies can be found commercially as unadulterated fresh produce or preserved, typically in light brine.
Truffles have a pungent aroma. Hogs proved to be the perfect domestic animal that can locate and extract the fruit bodies because of their sensitive noses and keen taste for truffles. However, dogs are now more commonly used because hogs have been known to eat too many truffles in the field.
In RWM, chefs were challenged to make the most of this valuable ingredient, signaling a September-long journey of exotic flavor and culinary creativity.
Parmigiano Ristorante Pizzeria has Fettuccine Ai Funghi Porcini Salsiccia e Tartufo and Filetto Di Carne con Tartufo, a fettuccine dish with wild mushroom varieties, truffle cream sauce, Italian sausage, sliced black truffles and parmigiano reggiano.
LUMU Filipino Kitchen adds twist and depth to Filipino comfort food with their Sizzling Black Truffle Bulalo Steak, which features a generous cut of fork-tender beef shank with bone marrow that swims in truffle-infused gravy.
Guests who want their truffle meal with rice will appreciate the Garlic Crab with Truffled Mushroom Rice from The Red Crab Alimango House.
Italianni’s array of truffle-infused dishes, which includes Italian Truffle Fries, Truffle Mushroom Pizza, Truffle Mushroom Risotto, and Truffle Chicken and Mushroom, showcases the fungus’s popularity in Italian cuisine.
RWM’s signature French fine dining outlet, Impressions, came up with a trifecta of the most exquisite truffle-based dishes: Cold Angel Hair Pasta with Black Truffle Ponzu and Caviar, Mixed Mushroom Soup with Black Truffle Duck Liver Ravioli and Chilean Sea Bass with Black Truffles, Carrot Risotto, Herb Salsa and Soy Sauce Cloud.
Finally, there’s Mr. Kurosawa’s Newport Mall-exclusive Truffle Ramen. This meal also won media kudos in the truffle dish-tasting during the launch.
Since 2015 RWM has chosen a culinary ingredient to highlight every September. 2015 was for chocolate, 2016 had it was matcha and last year was coconut. Guilas projects another successful iteration this year for “the diamond of the kitchen.”