White truffles are in the air…
I’m going to give you some background about truffles first…the boring stuff:
A truffle is the fruiting body of a subterranean fungus, predominantly one of the many species of the
genus Tuber. Truffles are fungi usually found in close association with tree roots. Spore dispersal is
accomplished through animals that eat fungi. That’s how they spread and grow. Some truffles are
cultivated and harvested from natural habitats.
Some of the truffle species are highly prized as food, and obviously, that’s the ones we are going to talk
And now the fun stuff :
In 19hundred, French gastronome Brillat-Savarin called truffles “the diamond of the kitchen”.
The white Truffle (Tuber Magnatum Pico) is the king of Truffles!
This precious Truffle comes from the Langhe area of the Piedmont region and, most famously, in the
countryside around the city of Alba. That’s why is commonly called “Alba White Truffle”. It cannot be
farmed and grows symbiotically with oak, hazel or beech trees which the area is rich of. Think about
NUTELLA, which is a cocoa & hazelnut spread and its made exactly in the town of Alba.
White Truffles are fruiting in autumn and can reach 12 cm diameter and 500g, though they are usually
much smaller. The flesh is pale cream or brown with white marbling.
The white truffle market in Alba is busiest in the months of October and November.
The record price paid for a single white truffle was set in December 2007, when Macau casino owner
Stanley Ho (who recently passed away) paid US$330,000 for a specimen weighing 1.5 kg, discovered by
Luciano Savini and his dog Rocco.
Traditionally, pigs have been used for the extraction of truffles. Both the female pig’s natural truffle-
seeking, and her usual intent to eat the truffle, are due to a compound within the truffle similar to the
sex pheromone of boar saliva, to which the sow is keenly attracted.
In Italy, the use of the pig to hunt truffles has been prohibited since 1985 because of damage caused by
animals to truffle mycelia during the digging that dropped the production rate of the area for some
years. So we use dogs instead. Dogs pose an advantage in that they do not have a strong desire to eat
truffles, so can be trained to locate sporocarps without digging them up.
A trained Truffle dog can cost up to 50,000 Euro.
Now let’s talk business:
What’s so good with this White Truffle? It’s the aroma…pungent and extraordinary. Nothing else is like
Why is it so expensive? Because its so hard to find.
Can it be farmed? Do they have it in China? Black truffles can be farmed and they also produce them in
China. White Truffles are magical, unique and they only grow in Piedmont (and in some areas of the old
Can I cook it? You can cook the black truffle. French love to do that. Italians they always prefer to shave
Truffles fresh and directly on top of their dishes. Usually very simple dishes like eggs or pasta.
How long can I keep it? Clean it and wrap it in kitchen paper. Put it inside an air-tight glass jar in the
fridge. Will last for 5 days to a week.
Is white truffle oil made with real truffles? Nope! It’s all chemicals.
What’s the best wine pairing? I love Barbaresco and find it the best pairing to all Truffle dishes. Wouldn’t
disagree too mush if you offered me a glass of vintage Champagne or a good Franciacorta; neither with
a good Barolo.
I love to hear all these questions, again and again every year, every White Truffle season.
And I love to answer them
(should you have new questions, pls message me)