One of the best Italian chef in Hong Kong, Umberto Bombana, the executive chef of the restaurant 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo, clarified to the South China Morning Post that the "white truffle season is an exquisite moment of the year. It enriches the moment between autumn and winter. It's a celebration of seasonality, of the expression of nature."
With his nickname "Hong Kong's king of white truffles", chef Bombana is certainly the best person to approach when talking about Italian truffles. And this year, he has been invited again by the Piedmont region to host the prestigious Worldwide Alba White Truffle Auction in Hong Kong.
White truffles are not that easy to find, mainly because they grow only in the wild, and this is the reason why they are so expansive. In Hong Kong, they cost about Euro 3,000 per kilo wholesale, while restaurants charge their customers about Euro 10 per gram.
According to chef Bombana, the best way to intensify the flavor of white truffles is to accompany them with cream, eggs, cheese, pasta and risotto, avoiding the mix with vinegar or any other strong reduction.
Thanks to the help of Paolo Montanaro, CEO of TartufLanghe, one of Piedmont's largest truffle companies, South China Morning Post also discovered that "just as flowers rely on wind or insects to carry their pollen in order to reproduce, white truffles rely on insects and animals such as snails or squirrels to distribute their spores, or germinal cells, which grow into truffles. Truffles release gas when they're mature, as they need to attract animals to eat them. That gas is the complex, captivating fragrance with notes of mushrooms, hay, wood, garlic and honey that has diners struggling for superlatives".