Andrea Rossano has the passion, not the profit, in his eyes. Owner of Tartufingros, the largest truffle breeder in the Roero, Langhe and Monferrato areas. He has gained some popularity among enthusiasts, as well as having gained considerable prestige in numerous restaurants in Italy and abroad. In forty years of career in fact, of important requests he has received and satisfied several of them, such as that of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia who wanted for his investiture a lunch performed by Alain Ducasse with truffles weighing of minimum 500 grams. When he enters a room, Rossano brings with him the unmistakable scent that only the precious mushroom can release. The truffle is his passion and he transmits it when, talking about his work, his eyes light up. He eats the Bianco d’Alba every day and strictly in a hot dish because only in this way he expresses his true essence. Heir to Giacomo Morra, the owner of Tartufingros exports 95% of the product abroad, mainly to Japan, in the extra and first choice type. One of her first clients was Lidia Bastianich who, in her restaurant Felidia in New York, cooked jota, a typical Istrian soup. When he is not busy with truffles, Andrea Rossano dedicates himself to golf and his second passion: the Toro football team for which he also founded a club in Hammamet in Tunisia. Thus the Toro is the only football club in Italy that can boast clubs organised in five continents.
A successful career
Andrea Rossano founded Tartufingros, a truffle wholesale and export company, in 1975. At that time there was only the figure of the distributor who used to sell truffles and no one sent the product directly to consumers and restaurants, so Rossano took a suitcase full of courage and a great desire to do, and he travelled for two years around the world starting from the United States to Australia.
“I saw that the product was really important, but it was not valued for the strength it had, so I put in a bag some wooden boxes with our brand and some photos that depicted truffles in the way they should have been exposed in restaurants; they are like diamonds, in fact we sell them in carats, not in grams because we managed to bring them to levels of excellence. I still have customers who have our boxes since 1975 and after 43 years they are a part of our history in their restaurants ”.
That of the boxes with the inscription Tartufingros – Alba – Italia was a winning idea, which was enormously successful because the number of customers increased. In this way, as for the bottles of wine, Andrea managed to label even truffles, making them recognizable and known in the world, as well as enhancing them. His purpose is precisely this: to expose the Tuber magnatum Pico to create the desire to come to our territory. Bringing a high-end clientele that buys wines, goes to the relais, in the restaurants, buys products, creates an added value to the territory. In 1979 the discovery of a 1,560-gram truffle (the largest ever surveyed) was an extraordinary media blow. After three days Rossano was received by the Pope and the news went around the world. While he was in Rome and walking in the Vatican courtyards awaiting the meeting with his Holiness, thinking back to the truffle found in Govone, Roero, the idea was born to start a fair in Vezza d’Alba, the place where he was born. 1980 was the first year of the Regional White Truffle Fair and Dei Vini Del Roero, now in its 39th edition. In 1981 bringing together all the most important operators in the sector, Rossano founded Assotartufi in Bologna, to regulate the category. In 1983 the white truffle of Alba was handed over to the Queen of England, while in 1986 it was received by Gorbačëv in Reykjavík. In 1987 Alain Ducasse opened the Luis XV in Montecarlo with the idea of making a Provençal, Ligurian and Piedmontese cuisine and was the first in France to put Tartufingros Alba white truffle on paper. In 1991 Ducasse opened the restaurant at the Plaze Athenee in Paris, where he inserted the precious tuber once again in the menu. For the chauvinist France of that period was a big step, the product that does not exist in the country, so anyone who wanted to use it was obliged to ask for permission of the French Ministry of Agriculture that was not granted. After this act of the chef, realised thanks to its importance, even the other restaurants were able to insert the truffle in the menu. That year an article entitled “The taking of the Bastille by Andrea Rossano”, which exported truffles to France, was published in a national newspaper. In 2000 he established the Truffle of the Year award of the Roero which featured leading people from our area and not like Carlin Petrini, Bruno Ceretto, Alain Delon, Sophia Lauren, Sergio Marchionne, Vittorio Sgarbi … Last year the award it was given to Liliana Allena, the first woman to receive it. In 2017, the municipality of Vezza d’Alba inaugurated the Roero educational truffle ground, dedicating it to Andrea Rossano. In the same year the first white truffle cru was born in Italy called White Truffles of Alba “Rocche del Roero” and the first truffle with this cru was delivered to Roberto Benigni.
The educational truffle ground of Vezza d’Alba
The first educational truffle plant of Roero located in Vezza d’Alba named after Andrea Rossano, to whom the municipality and the Roero owe a lot was created some years ago. For the entrepreneur this is a certificate of unique esteem and the objective is to acquire all the remaining plots of the area to donate to the Municipality to make it the most important educational truffle ground in Italy. Over 7 thousand square meters that until a decade ago were abandoned to a dense network of brambles and shrubs and today include truffle plants, elms, oaks, willows, poplars, and a rich natural vegetation. The area has a particular vocation and represents the place where tourists can experience the scents of trees and truffles, discover its world, experiment with simulated research, explain to students the importance of respecting the environment.