Food Travel > Food Trends > The history Of truffles Date posted: October 12, 2013

The history
Of truffles

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Italy has many food excellences. Among them certainly are truffles. But where exactly can you find them and what’s their history? Swide tells you everything about these little gourmet luxuries.

Italy is a gifted land. Not only we speak a musical language and are surrounded by beautiful landscapes, we also have one of the best cuisines worldwide. What raises the bar even higher? Truffles.

For the few unlucky ones who still don’t know about it, the truffle is a (underground) mushroom. There are many kinds of truffles, but the ones held in high esteem are the white ones. Only secondary to those, the black ones.

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The white ones have a pale cream or brown with white marbling color. The most valuable (Tuber magnatum Pico) comes from the Langhe area of Piedmont and particularly in Alba, which is the most important kind. You can find them also in Slovenia, Croazia and Romania, but only in minor quantities and quality: Italian white truffles are the most valuable on the market.

If you are planning to buy some, make room in your agenda for the 83th White Truffle Festival in Alba, where in 2009 a 1.6-pound white truffle was sold for $150,000. This year the festival will take place at PalaTartufo in Alba on from October 12th until November 17th every Saturday and Sunday.

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Another place to enjoy truffles is Tuscany: on October 26th – 27th  and November 1st,  2nd and 3rd, Volterra (Pisa) celebrates truffles with the 16th White Truffle Exhibition/Market, with tastings of the local white truffles and all the other delicacies that the territory has to offer.

But why are white truffles so expensive? Because – as for everything else on Earth – their value is strictly related to the quantity available. Truffles are rare to find in the first place (and have become even more rare in last years) and they can’t be faked or formulated. So the only way to get them, at least up to today, is to train pigs – yes, pigs – and some breed of dogs to find truffles, to not eat them (an important passage) and to bring them back.

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An ancestral hunt that treasures mystery, anticipation, longing. Three things rare to find, too, since today almost everything is obtainable with no or little effort. Set this happening in one of the most beautiful landscape on earth, the hills of Langhe in Piedmont, and you’ll get the poetry of truffles.

Among the different kinds, there is also the whitish truffle (Tuber borchii), less valuable, which can be found in Lombardy, Tuscany, Romagna, Marche and Molise, but it’s not even close to the aroma of the white truffles you find in Piedmont.

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The black truffle (Tuber melanosporum) or Périgord black truffle has been named after the Region of Périgord in France and grows with oak trees. It is less noble than the white one, but still tasty. It’s found mostly in Europe, with a distribution of 45% circa in France, 35% Spain, 20% Italy. This kind can be found in Asia (China), America and Africa.

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Don’t tell me you are not eager to have them, no matter how much they cost. Because diamonds are a girl’s bestfriend, but truffles are a foodie’s ones.

 

Alba White Truffles Fair

October 12th – November 17th

Cortile della Maddalena, Alba

Every Saturday and Sunday, from 9 am to 8 pm

Opened on November 1st, too

For more infowww.fieradeltartufo.org; info@fieradeltartufo.org

Piazza Medford, 3

Alba (CN)

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