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I tried Acquafarina's Tartufo Nero pizza. Let's just say, there's a new exotic pizza topping in town (take a seat pineapple).
Did you know it was black truffle season? I certainly didn’t. But in my defence, I’ve never claimed to be an expert on the subject. And truth be told, winter doesn’t really feel synonymous with truffles. But ’tis the season and ’tis the reason why I tried Acquafarina’s black truffle pizza— these little fungi foodie faves are at their peak flavour, so it’s the best time to have them.
If you’ve never been, Acquafarina is in the heart of Vancouver’s downtown fine dining district and is deeply Italian (the menu is going to make you wish you had paid more attention in your Italian language course… or had taken an Italian language course). The restaurant is stunning—towering ceilings, a massive 2-storey wine cellar, an outdoor terrace equipped with roman statues—it’s old-world and modern elegance at once, and makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a modern Fellini film. But ambiance aside, I was there for the truffle pizza (Tartufo Nero, if you’re reading the all-Italian menu).
Made with black truffle, crema and fontina, it’s the crown jewel of their pizza offerings and comes in at a whopping $49 dollars a pie. That’s amore than I would usually spend on my pizzas (apologies for that pun but also I have no regrets). But the truffles are a rare delicacy, so it makes sense that it would be more than your average pepperoni pizza. And let me tell you, it’s worth it.
The Tuber melanosporum (a.k.a the black truffle a.k.a my pizza topping) is in season starting in December, and as an added treat my pizza was served with thinly-sliced white truffle which is only in season ‘til the end of this month. They use traditional fire-roasted brick ovens to make the pizzas, so it’s that crispy thin crust that’s blistered to perfection in rotating-stone Malagutti ovens.
The taste is truffley but not in an overpowering way that can sometimes befall this highly sought-after fungus. The chef let me know a bit about how the truffle is found too—did you know it’s not pigs anymore, but dogs that find them, securing canines the title of best animal ever.
Another thing to note is that this is an upscale pizzeria. You might get away with flip flops and your Canucks cap at Domino’s but don’t expect that to fly at Acquafarina. With their strict business casual dress code and the request that you take your phone calls out of the dining area (my mother would approve this honestly), it’s meant to inspire your sartorial side along with helping people focus on the moment. I’ll admit it feels a bit pretentious but the pizza is good enough that they can get away with it. I guess if you’re willing to pay for a $50 dollar pizza then you probably can afford to put on a nice shirt and pants.
Another thing to note is that the pizze or pizza offerings are only on the lunch menu, which is only served Thursdays and Fridays, from 11:30 am to 3 pm. So this limited-time pizza is only available for these limited times. With its strict dress code and fussy schedule, this pizza is serving diva (with a taste to back it up).
For this writer (who, full disclosure, got to try this ‘za for nada), it’s a once-in-a-blue-moon-special-occasion-treat-zza pizza that’s worth getting all dressed up for and trying at least once (before it’s gone).
For more information or to make a reservation, check out Acquafarina.