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On moderation and militants

October 30, 2012

Giorgio Locatelli white trufflesModeration has gone out of fashion according to Giorgio Locatelli. “Nowadays people want lots of everything all year round whenever they want it” he says. He is aware of the irony of this statement; we are sitting on the terrace at Rondo Locatelli in Atlantis, The Palm which is in Dubai – a city that has become a by-word for bigger, greater, more extravagant i.e. excess.

Giorgio and his team had just flown in from Italy and he was cradling the purpose of his journey; a plate of new season white truffles from Umbria, knobbly and dust-coloured, nestled under a glass dome. He carefully lifted the lid and the heady, musky, irresistible aroma reached my end of the table.

white truffle menu

I’d heard Giorgio’s memories of his annual truffle-buying trip with his father or grandfather before. They would all pile into a tiny Fiat and hand over a wad of notes to a shady looking man at a garage, “like we were buying drugs or something” (pronounced drags) he laughs. Atlantis had invited me to taste the new season truffle menu in 2010 and 2011, plus I had cooked with Giorgio at Taste of Dubai. However, his explanation of the sensitivity of truffles to environmental factors (they won’t grow in a flight path or near a road) led to an increasingly impassioned diatribe on seasonality, sustainability and why vegetable gardens are good. He hardly paused for breath, but when he did I managed to chip-in in agreement “and people believe the view peddled by the chemical companies that the only way of feeding the world is through intensive agriculture.” He had the ear of everyone at the table and was on a roll! We were ready to take up arms (well perhaps forks and hoes) and march.

While Giorgio was speaking, we were served little samples of the white truffle menu, all very simple and protein or carbohydrate rich to set off the flavour of the truffle. Fancy dishes should be avoided at all costs according to Giorgio. First white four cheese pizza topped with truffle, then an exquisite dish of fluffy scrambled egg with truffle and then the ambrosial risotto al tartufo, truly the food of the gods.

The sun was lowering and our visit came to an end. After posing for a few photographs we took our leave. Giorgio raised his fist with a shout and a grin “militante!”

At Ronda Locatelli

The special white truffle menu is available at Ronda Locatelli from October 25th and continues as long as the season allows.

Disclosure: We were guests of Atlantis, The Palm as part of the Food Photography and Styling Workshop programme with Meeta K Wolff (more about that to follow).

12 Comments
  1. October 30, 2012 6:47 am

    Giorgio is a man of great passion. His passion and love of food, especially Italian is so infectious. I loved spending time with him earlier this year and especially enjoyed his take on what it is like to live with food allergies since his daughter is highly allergic to many foods. He is a man of black and white, no grey….and I love that about him.

  2. October 30, 2012 8:32 am

    What a shame I missed this one out! Hopefully next time Sally:)

  3. October 30, 2012 11:15 am

    It looks like you had a wonderful time in Gorgio Locatelli’s company!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  4. October 31, 2012 9:52 pm

    :( That is all am gonna Say!

  5. November 1, 2012 12:54 pm

    I didn’t know this chef at all. Thanks for sharing your lovely experience with us! A lovely read & now, i will google him!

  6. November 2, 2012 12:23 am

    No,not jealous at all (fingers crossed behind my back). How wonderful to be invited to such events, and speak to and cook with the great man himself. Thanks for recounting your day here. I could almost smell the truffles. I have a little pot of white truffle honey and a bottle of white truffle oil that I drizzle over white popcorn. That’s as close as I’ll get to the real thing, I’m afraid!

  7. November 7, 2012 2:05 pm

    A sensational day – 2 days it was! While we were planning all this I did not have the time for the idea of Giorgio Locatelli to really sink in so when it happened I think I was as surprised as all the other participants. Love this post!

  8. November 26, 2013 11:38 am

    Sounds like a great way to pass some time, although I’m wondering just how successful backyard vegetable gardening in Dubai would be! ;-)

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  1. Food Photography and styling « My Custard Pie
  2. Food Photography and Styling Workshop Day 2 | Food and Tools
  3. Goodbye, hello « My Custard Pie
  4. Taste the difference: black and white truffles « My Custard Pie

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