The Italian truffle is the most prized type of mushroom or fungi in the world; with very ancient origins and home to a number of Italian regions or areas. To identify the area, we distinguish the truffle into two different types: the white truffle and the black truffle. The first originates mainly in specific areas of Piedmont (Langhe, Monferrato, Roero, Astigiano), especially in Alba, the city that over time has been recognized as the capital of the white truffle. The black truffle (also called "Nero di Norcia") finds its habitat mainly in the regions of Central Italy. And it is precisely in these areas that the truffle is collected and processed to bring it to the tables of Italians and beyond national borders. Due to soaring global demand and outrageous prices it has Italians to change production tactics for cultivating this fungus. For centuries, truffle hunting and selling in Italy has barely changed. The hunters, known as cavatori (excavators), would traipse along their secret forest routes with their hunting pigs. The animals would pick up the scent of mature truffles – variously described as oaky, nutty, pungent or garlicky – and dig them up. In recent decades, trained dogs replaced pigs for the very good reason that dogs are less gluttonous and thus less likely to eat the precious catch! Truffles, whether black or the rarer white ones, are so valuable they are considered “dirty diamonds.” The cavatori would generally sell the truffles locally, to restaurants or at country markets, and sometimes use agents to export them. Today, truffles are becoming a big business, especially in Umbria, the landlocked region in the middle of the Italian peninsula that forms the heart of the industry. Even smallish ones can be worth hundreds of euros; the bigger ones can fetch thousands.
There is even a guide book for guiding gourmets along the various truffle routes across Italy: The Italy of truffles. Cities, towns and territories - The 2023-2024 Guide inaugurates the series of guides Sentieri Golosi of the Typimedia series "Le Tartarughine", dedicated to slow travel. The book tells the story of the Italian Truffle - one of a kind guide which traces a path across the Bel Paese, directing the traveler on a journey of taste which is an immersion in history, the the art and traditions of the Italian territory in its infinite variations. From Piedmont to Sicily and Sardinia passing along the Apennines until you see the sea, a journey to 138 Italian municipalities to discover and rediscover through this authentic excellence, protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, cities and towns, villages and internal areas, amazing landscapes and hidden wonders. Everything about truffles: in addition to the story of the mapped municipalities, the guide L'Italia del truffo offers in-depth content that offers the reader a complete picture of this fascinating world. From the theme of environmental sustainability to the truffle as an attractor and economic driver, from the food and wine characteristics to the historical anecdotes, up to the typical curiosities of the sector: the seasonal varieties, the hunting dogs, the recipes and the calendar of events that take place in Italy along the 'year.
In this section, you can find a few delicious recipes with truffles to create appetizers, first courses and second courses. From Roquefort Crumbs with Cauliflower and truffle foam Appetizer, to a famous Pasta Dish - Spaghetti alla Nursina with Truffles to the even more famous Rossini Steak with Truffles - Tournedos alla Rossini,
Gioacchino Rossini, the composer's favorite dish. Thanks to Cucchiaio d'Argento!
Elegant but simple Appetizer - Briciole di Roquefort con spuma di cavolfiore e tartufo
400g of cauliflower cream; 100g of cream; salt; cinnamon; cardamom; nutmeg; truffle; 100g of Roquefort
We eliminate the leaves and the woodier heart of the cauliflower by cutting it first into four and then into eight parts. We steam it for 30 minutes, or until it is soft. We pass it to the blender until it is reduced to a cream.
Separately, whip the cream to medium peaks and incorporate it, trying not to let it go down. Add the spices and put everything in a piping bag. We crumble the Roquefort, cover it with the cauliflower foam and the truffle flakes.
Simple Pasta Dish with Truffles - Spaghetti alla Nursina
320 g of spaghetti; 100 g of black truffles; 4 anchovy fillets; 1/2 glass of oil; 1 sprig of parsley; salt
Place the oil in a pan, when it is hot, add the anchovies and let them melt over moderate heat. Remove from the heat and add the sliced truffles. Place on the heat again for a few minutes, making sure the mixture does not boil. Boil the spaghetti in salted water, drain them and season them with the sauce. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.
Tournedos alla Rossini
4 tournedos 3 cm high; 200 g of foie gras; 100 g of butter
1/2 glass of Madeira; 2 black truffles; 4 slices of bread
Add four slices of garlic from the foie gras, a little smaller than the tournedos and keep them aside. Cut the slices of bread into the same size as the tournedos and brown them on both sides in a small pan with a knob of butter, keep them warm. From each tournedos, remove any parts of fat, cuticle and nerve. Tie them all around with white kitchen string so that they maintain their round shape during cooking. In a pan, let the remaining butter melt and when it turns hazelnut brown, add the tournedos. Let them brown on high heat for a minute on both sides. Lower the heat and cook for 7-8 minutes if you prefer them rare or a good 10 minutes if cooked to perfection, remove them from the pan and place each one on its own slice of bread, keep warm. In the same very hot pan, season the slices of foie gras for 15 seconds on both sides, add salt and pepper, remove them and place them on the tournedos. Cut 12 slices of truffle and place three on each tournedos, remove the string, arrange them on the serving plate. Still in the same cooking pan, pour the Madeira, deglaze the remaining sauces, let the sauce thicken for a few moments, add the remaining chopped truffles and distribute it on the tournedos or serve it separately.