The truffle and the history of Alba

The truffle entered the history of this area in a very natural way, in ancient times.

Triffole or tartuffoli were one of the regular Communities’ expenses, made each year to honour lords and feudatars by giving them the precious mushrooms.

But truffles were bought also by simple farmers, and when in 1741 count Carlo Giacinto Roero di Vezza tried to disciplinate the truffle market, the local Community reacted vogorously.

A law was issued, saying that

those who are caught digging in someone else’s lawns to find truffles, will pay a fee of 0,10 liras for each truffle

the Community defended its interests by saying that

this (truffle) is something given by the Providence to the poor villages on the hills; people are helped by it by eating it, and by selling it they can partly pay the royal taxes

It’s clear how closely truffles were linked to farming economy.

It’s also clear that back then there were much many truffles, more than there are now, because of the bigger woods and the more cures given to those.

The legends

Of the importance of truffles are a sign the many legends created about them. the “trifole”, according to a popular legend, mark the roads used by fairs and gnomes, while their irregular shape is due “al baticheur ëd le piante che a stan për andurmisse” (to the heart-beating of the plants about to fall asleep).

The aphrodisiac qualities of the “trifule” are believed to be true; an example is the appetite for truffles that brought the king Vittorio Emanuele II and his mistress, Bela Rosin, together. If this was true, it wouldn’t be a surprise that their love story took place in the Langhe and Roero.

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