Zuma Dubai sources biggest truffle worth $14,000
Worst season for truffle in decades says chef as 349g monster flown in
Dubai’s Zuma restaurant has sourced the largest truffle to be imported to the UAE weighing in at 349g, with a market value of AED 52,350 (US $14,251).
The ‘Tuberum Magnatum Pico’ species of truffle was flown in from Alba in Northern Italy, it has a one-week shelf life and will be served in the restaurant’s a la carte menu dishes that feature the sought-after ingredient.
Furthermore, diners can request the truffle to be shaved onto their meals at a cost of AED 150 ($41) per gram, with a minimum order of two grams.
The chefs at the Dubai International Financial Centre branch of the international Japanese restaurant chain told Hotelier it had been “the worst season for truffles in decades”.
“Prices are astronomically high for the huge demand and the rainless summer indicates that very few truffles will be found this season,” they said.
There are more than 1000 species of truffle or ‘tubers’ that grow naturally in the soil . Of those about 16 species are edible and the fresh white truffle from Italy is considered the most valued. For around 95% of truffles found, the weight varies from 10 grams to maximum 100 grams.
White truffle cannot be harvested or farmed and only grow in a selected areas of Italy — in the Piedmont region —and in some parts of Tuscany.
“The Zuma team asked the supplier to bring a ‘mega’ truffle, which was a tall order as there were no signs of any truffles around, and those that were around were very small, not of great quality and most of all expensive,” said a Zuma spokesperson.
“Last week I got a call from my source that a truffle of 370 grams was found. Following a quick pictures exchange with the hunter — and after cleaning away the dirt and carefully brushing [the truffle] — it became 349. We [had it delivered via] special cargo to Dubai and now it is here.”
The truffle was supplied by UAE-based Italtouch Trading.
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A truffle is the fruiting body of a subterranean mushroom; spore dispersal is accomplished through fungivores, animals that eat fungi. Almost all truffles are ectomycorrhizal and are therefore usually found in close association with trees.
"White truffles are like diamonds for a Chef! Rare and fragrant with a flavour that is almost impossible to explain and utterly unforgettable," say the Zuma chefs.
"The spores of the Truffle are found nearby or attached to the roots of old oaks and birch trees. Depending on the weather, season, humidity, heat and kind of terrain, they reproduce year to year (in fact truffle hunters are known to pass from father to son the best spots for truffles , like if it was a treasure map," the Zuma team says.