Hunting for Truffles
What is Truffle hunting?
Hunting of truffles is an activity much older that you might think, for example, we do have an illustration of a man collecting truffles inside a codex named Tacuinum sanitatis from the XIV century.
Actually it is even older than that! I century a.C. to be precise. Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia talks about truffles.
Hunting for truffles has a deep connection with the territory and nature itself.
The Cavatore (literally means: he who extract -> the truffle hunter) is a very skilled person: he has to know very well the moon phases, the territory, which plant might have truffles nearby and he must also train his dogs!
Dogs are truffle hunter’s best companion. The most famous breed is called Lagotto. In ancient times, hunters used pig too because it seems that they have an innate ability to find truffles!. However pigs are also very fond of this precious delicacy and once they find one, if the cavatore is not fast enough, well…they Eat it!
What the Cavatore wears to go hunting for truffles
The Cavatori (truffle hunters) usually wear pretty functional clothes because they have to move inside forests.
Basically speaking they tend to wear pretty similar to hunters: a Jacket, heavy trousers, heavy shirt with long sleeves and boots. Truffle hunters also bring along a series of specialized spade for digging out truffles. There is more than one spade and each one used for a specific typology of truffles!
Finally the truffle hunter brings with him a pouch where to put found truffles.
What are truffles?
But what exactly are truffles?! Well, There are many legends about their origin, the ancient romans believed that truffle was the byproduct of Oak trees hit by the lightning of Jupiter! And since Jupiter was also famous for his many love interests it was also believed that it was a strong libido booster.
Legends apart, we now know that truffles are underground mushrooms that live in close associations with the roots of some species of trees. It’s a very delicate balance, that follows the rules of mother nature.
For top quality truffles the purity of the soil its essential!
Different types of truffles
There are many different types of truffles in the world, to simplify things down I’ll just mention the most famous species:
- White Truffle (Tuber magnatum): the king of truffles and the most expensive
- Fine Black Truffle (Tuber Melanosporum Vittadini): this type is considered the best black truffle
- Bianchetto (Tuber Albidum Pico): is a type of white truffle but less rare and expensive
- Nero Uncinato (winter black truffle)
- Nero Estivo (summer black truffle)
Each truffle has it’s own distinct aromas and peculiarities and they are all considered a delicacy of our territory!