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The truffle history - 1700 to 1900

In the 1700’s the Piedmontese truffle was considered, by all European courts, to be delicacy of choice.

Truffle hunting became court entertainment, during which, guests and foreign ambassadors in Turin were invited to participate. Possibly for this reason the use of an elegant animal such as the dog came into being, instead of a pig, as was the custom in France.

Between the end of the XVII and the beginning of the XVIII century, the Italian sovereigns Vittorio Amedeo II and Carlo Emanuele III were serious and assiduous truffle hunters. An interesting episode concerns a truffle expedition in 1751 organized by Carlo Emanuele III at the English Court, in an attempt to introduce the truffle to the British cuisine. During the day truffles were found in English soil, but they were of very poor quality compared to the Piedmonte variety.

Count Camillo Benso di Cavour, during his political career, made use of the truffle as a diplomatic tool. 

The composer Gioacchino Rossini called it “the Mozart of funghi” while Lord Byron kept one on his desk because the perfume helped his inspiration and Alexandre Dumas called it the Sancta Santorum of the table.

In 1780 in Milan the first book on the white truffle was published, and it was baptized with the name of Tuber Magnatum Pico (Magnatum – magnate, while Pico refers to the Piedmontese Vittorio Pico, the first scholar who studied its classification.)

In Milan in 1831 a naturalist from the Botanic Gardens in Pavia, Carlo Vittadini, published the “Monographia Tuberacearum”, in which he describes 51 species of truffle and it was this work which formed the basis of hydnology.

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