Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tartufo 2006 – Truffle Season 2006 best in decades

For those lucky individuals who find themselves in Italy this Autumn, a special treat awaits. The warm weather lasted longer than usual creating intense changes in temperature and strong thunderstorms as the fall weather pattern attempted to take control. I can see in your minds,

“Thunderstorms, late warmth, extreme temperature changes, who cares, what does that have to do with our vacation?”

This unusual weather pattern has created the best Truffles in decades. The Truffles are both larger and more flavorful. The black Truffles from the hills of southern Italy, the red Truffles from the Marche and, of course, the coveted white truffles from Piemonte are all experiencing the best harvest season in decades. Simply this means that prices should remain stable or diminish while the quality will be significantly higher.

While generally reserved to the rich and powerful, Truffles have been part of the regional recipes for special occasions. The Truffle was widely used during the Roman Empire and in the early 1800s also appeared in southeastern France. There are 10 types of Truffles in Italy. Seven are considered edible. The remaining three branches may not be considered food quality but they do not cause serious illness or death. The White Truffle from Piemonte is considered the top, while the “Pregiato White” or “Rossita” from Central Italy is also very good. The Black Truffle from southern Italy is the misunderstood child in the family. It is of excellent quality, perfume and taste but is not recognized like its northern brothers.

Truffles are the extreme example of price, supply and demand. Truffles are desired worldwide and the supply is very limited both in geographical region and climatic events. The prices can be several thousand Euro for ¼ lb. and 30 Euro for a few shaves on top of a Risotto! Attempts to farm Truffles have been attempted and failed. Truffles are a freak of nature, temperature, rain and lightning strikes are accepted as the conditions necessary to initiate the formation of this root.

To find the answer to the Truffles desirability we must look at the chemical composition of the root. The perfume or odor of the Truffle escapes the range of scents humans are able to detect. This is why dogs and pigs are trained and used to find truffles. When uncovered the portion of the scent humans are able to detect can be considered pungent but most will soon find themselves drawn to the Truffle. Most of the Truffle’s molecules go undetected by the human olfactory receptors arriving directly to the subconscious sensors. As the body reacts to the molecules the chemicals are released. The chemical reaction produced by the Truffle is the same as having a sexual orgasm. The result is a feeling of satisfaction and relaxation. Truffles are the ultimate aphrodisiac. They do not facilitate a desire that could remain unsatisfied; they go right to the ultimate objective!

This is the period of the Truffle fairs. The most antique Fiera del Tartufo, in Alba, runs through the end of November. The “Mostra Mercato Nazionale del Tartufo” in Fabro, Marche, will be open from the 10-12th of November. If you are in Italy, providence is your ally. This may be the best year for Tartufo in your lifetime!


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Blogger Italian Wine Guy® said...

Dont forget San Miniato in Tuscany, where I'll be reporting from next week

San Miniato Truffle Fair info
San Miniato and other Truffle Fairs

Davide--you gonna come join us?

5:03 PM

Blogger ChickyBabe said...

I love truffles! We get the French variety imported in Sydney and recently I have sampled some Australian grown truffles. Different texture but the aroma was fairly close.

Cooking with them is pure decadence!

PS I even own a truffle slicer!

3:30 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

IWG In this period most towns in the Tartufo region will have fairs. You are fortunate to be there.

ChickyBabe Many have attempted to transplant or commercially grow Truffles and all have failed to reproduce a quality product. Viva la natura!

I had a feeling you would be completely prepared to prepare and consume this little delight, go ChickyBabe.

12:34 PM

Blogger Miss Natalie said...

a truffle season! A whole season! Thats awesome.

8:10 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Natalie Actually two, spring and fall although the fall is the best quality and quantity.

Risotto al Tartufo, here I come!

8:09 AM


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