Battle of the truffles in Dubai

Italian chefs go to war over 349g truffle at Zuma

BiCE Mare’s princely truffle risotto
BiCE Mare’s princely truffle risotto
Pão de queijo: an inspired pizza ingredient
Pão de queijo: an inspired pizza ingredient
Bay without cash at Pizza Express
Bay without cash at Pizza Express
Diva Life sugar-free pralines
Diva Life sugar-free pralines

In previous issues we’ve revealed that Dubai’s Italian kitchens are being taken over by truffle mania, with one Japanese kitchen – namely Zuma – pipping all its competitors to the post with the acquisition of a giant 349g white truffle. It was sourced by truffle expert Massimo Vidoni: in his own words, ‘the truffle man strikes again’.

Ever known an Italian to bow out and admit defeat when it comes to their much-loved cucina? No, neither have we. It’s unsurprising, then, that some of Dubai’s Italian chefs have decided they weren’t going to take Zuma’s truffle triumph lying down: we now have a battle of the truffles on our hands. Last week, BiCE Mare purchased a 503g white truffle from Massimo, sourced in the delicacy’s heartland, Alba in Piedmont, Italy.
We sense a challenge afoot: can the truffle man excel again, and can Dubai’s kitchens afford it if he does?

Setting the bar high, BiCE Mare plans to add the pricey ingredient to a rather decadent risotto. The dish will be made in front of guests at the table in a large parmesan wheel, using acquerello rice – a premium, artisanal variety that is aged for seven years – and, just for good measure, a little gold leaf. The risotto costs Dhs500, including 4g of truffle.

The restaurant will also shave truffle over other dishes on request at Dhs150 per gram, making the risotto sound like a bargain.

Now, on to a humbler Italian foodstuff, as the debate over Dubai’s best pizza continues to rage endlessly on As the arguments continue, Dubai’s pizzas continue to evolve away from the classic Italian model to include burger pizzas (at Pizza Hut), pizza sushi (at Nomad), macrobiotic pizza (at NKD) and so on. Now the Brazilians are at it with their take on a stuffed-crust pizza: pão de queijo pizza. These traditional cheesy bread balls have become the inspiration for an unusually indulgent yet gluten-free base, using cassava flour. The pizzas are available now at Boteko Brasil in Dubai Ladies Club, in four flavours: pepperoni, catupiry, Margherita and carne seca.

In other pizza news, Pizza Express has just launched a handy cashless method of payment in its restaurants. The new Pizza Express membership card offers special discounts for members, and can be topped up with credit and swiped to pay the bill.

Finally, last week we mentioned that Wednesday November 14 is the WHO World Diabetes Awareness Day. The timing couldn’t be more perfect: any day now, local online chocolate boutique Diva Life is expecting the arrival of Belgian pralines that are 100 percent sugar free. As Diva Life owner Mohammed told us, they are perfect for ‘divas on a diet’. Indulgence without the guilt. Until next week, bon appétit!

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