Tuber magnatum Pico
Tuber magnatum Pico, this is the scientific name of the white truffle: it derives from the Latin magnatus, that is magnate, in reference to its prestige. In fact it is the most prized variety, both gastronomically and economically. Even without the value of the Big one, recently sold at the World Auction, the white truffle still has very high costs. The main fair in honor of this mushroom is held in the Piedmontese town of Alba, in the province of Cuneo, where the white truffle grows with pleasure. It must be said that the whole southern part of Piedmont is rich in these truffles. In the castle of Grinzane Cavour, immersed in one of the most characteristic landscapes of the Langa area, 5 km from Alba, the World White Truffle Auction is held, this year in its fifteenth edition.
The Alba truffle
Talking about the Alba truffle is one of those things that makes you awe; you think: who is it that doesn't know the Alba truffle? Who doesn't know where Alba is? And then you realize that you are about to speak not of a mushroom, not of a food product, but of the mushroom, with a capital "effe". Talking about big things and not being banal and obvious is not easy at all. Alba is a town that exceeds 31,000 inhabitants, for the people of Langa it is the historical and economic point of reference, it has always been their capital. The Ferrero confectionery industry and the truffle are its banners. The truffle or better, the "trifola", as they call it in these parts, is cloaked in an aura of originality, of exclusivity not only economic (it is not really a product at a popular price), but rather of an elite that respects and jealously guards the products of their own land: the "trifolao", as truffle hunters are called in Piedmontese dialect.
The Alba truffle has unique characteristics that make it what it is. It has an unmistakable and so intense aroma and flavor as to arouse equally intense emotions: either you love it or you hate it, there is no middle ground. With great personalities it is always like this .. But if the Alba truffle is not only a very appreciated mushroom, it also owes it to those who know it more than anyone else, who first appreciated it and then shared their knowledge. . Making the trifolao is first of all a passion, very profitable if you want, but always a passion. To be able to hold a truffle in your hands you need that because the truffle is generous only with those who earn it: you need to know the plants, move at night with the dog only, in the middle of the woods, perhaps near a ditch water.
Alba truffle: The truffle triangle
The great success of the truffle is undoubtedly linked to its organoleptic characteristics, to a wise marketing work, but all this is possible thanks to the almost symbiotic relationship that is created between dog, man and truffle. Paradoxically, it is as if the symbiosis that characterizes the life cycle of this mushroom permeates everything that surrounds it. The truffle is economic profit, but also a way of life, for the trifolao and also for the dog. Often not purebred, a small, well-trained mongrel who "feels" the truffle, even when it is under tens of centimeters of earth and "marks" it as the trifolao would say. Dig around it, careful not to break it, a piece of cheese will be his prize. It is the early hours of the morning, trifolao and dog are heading home, tomorrow another truffle will be ready for the tables of half the world.