Truffle: the history of the rarest and most expensive food in the world
Globose, smooth or rough, white or black. The truffle is one of the most expensive foods in the world, in fact it is very rare and impossible to grow!
It is an underground fungus that lives in the vicinity of a plant. It reproduces like flowers: but instead of bees that carry pollen from flower to flower, wild boars or badgers take care of “sprinkling” the spores of the truffle in the environment, attracted by their aroma. Aroma that you will struggle to describe (to be clear, like the sound of the crocodile) since it cannot be associated with any flavor. We can just say that it is unmistakable and persistent 😉 Precisely for this reason, do not be fooled by the quantity to use: a small amount is enough to flavor your dishes.
Piedmont is the Italian region that more than others retains the charm and richness of this mushroom. In addition to preserving the highly prized Bianco d’Alba, the Tuber magnatum, it hosts some minor species between Monferrato and Roero, such as the Precious Black Truffle and the Crockery.
The first written historical evidence dates back to 1600-1700 BC, at the time of the Sumerians and the patriarch Jacob. After being included in six recipes in the seventh book of the work “De Re Coquinaria” by Apicius, in the first century AD, the studies on truffles multiplied and the Renaissance saw the affirmation of the prized one: black in France and white in Italy. In fact, in the 1700s the prestige of the Piedmontese truffle was recognized in all European courts!
It is evident that the truffle has very ancient origins, but the first scientific studies are carried out only since the eighteenth century. More precisely, in 1788 the Latin name Tuber Magnatum was born: it was invented by a Turin doctor Dr. Vittorio Pico, who defined the white truffle as the “truffle of the magnates”. The Savoy family, for example, passionate lovers of truffles, sent it as a “diplomatic gift” to all the other European courts and invited friends to their hunts (for truffles) in the Turin hills. Today we would say that they were influencers of that time, because many other nobles took their inspiration from them, launching a real fashion! Since then, the myth of the white truffle began.
There are many admirers of this prized mushroom: Rossini himself called it the “Mozart of mushrooms”! And if today its popularity is under everyone’s eyes, great credit goes to the Albese restaurateur Giacomo Morra who in 1929 exhibited the best white truffles collected within the Alba Fair and gave the largest one to Rita Hayworth (exactly her! La Rossa, the beautiful Hollywood actress), a tradition perpetrated in the following years. It took the London Times newspaper to call him “The King of Truffles”, only 4 years later. When we say “Better late than never” …;)
As said, it is difficult to cultivate this underground fungus and it easily deteriorates, which is why you can taste it in food and wine products (ready-made), to ensure that its aroma can be appreciated for longer.
Finally, a food that doesn’t need to stay hours and hours on the stove, but you can have as is, in different and unique preparations: from the dehydrated black and white truffle of TartufLanghe, in which it plays the leading role to flavored sauces such as the Antica Dispensa truffle sauce or the Tartufissima pasta by TartufLanghe.
Don’t forget to try it with our pasta by Allemandi, pleasure is guaranteed!
– Until next time, with love!