Truffles are very rare products, because their growth depends on season weather conditions and on the environment. Italy is one of the main truffles global producers and exporter.
Identikit and main features
The white truffles are underground mushrooms, they are not cultivable, that grow in mycorrhizic symbiosis with specific arboreous trees (oak, willow, poplar…). They can be of many different shapes, from globous to plate. The external, called ‘peridio’, varies from a milk white colour to ochre yellow, while the inner core, called ‘gleba’, has brown streaked furrows. Truffles are famous for the unique fragrance. The aromatic range includes echoes of garlic, mushroom and honey. There are many different species of truffles, but he white grows only in the Langhe and Monferrato territories and in few other places in Italy, for this reason it is the most valuable specie and, moreover, it is also the bigger one for dimensions.
Area of production
The area of diffusion of the tuber magnatum Pico in Piedmont includes the Langhe, Monferrato and Roero territories, even if some have been found in the Alessandria and Turin areas.
The first documented information about truffles are in the Naturalis Historia written by Pliny the Elder. In the I century AC, thanks to the philosopher Plutarch of Chaeronea spread the idea that this precious mushroom was born from the combined action of water, heat and lightning. So the truffle has always been known, but it was only from the XVI century that it has been recognised as a mushroom. At the end of the XVIII century, the science made researches about the “tuber magnatum”, which took its name from the piedmontese doctor Vittorio Pico. The fine taste of this product was appreciated also at the piedmontese court and the Count Camillo Benso of Cavour used the truffle as a diplomatic medium. Only in 1967, thanks to the researches of the “Centro di Studio sulla Micologia del terreno del CNR” of Turin, it was demonstrated the mycorrhizal symbiosis between the plant and the truffle. Meantime in 1929 was created the most important event dedicated to this product: the “Fiera Nazionale di Alba” (National Fair of Alba). To enhance the truffle at international leve, in 1949, Giacomo Morra thought to make the truffle the Langhe and Roero ambassador, sending the best truffle of the year to an important politician, sportsman or showman.