Tasty reads

The history of truffle

October 8, 2012

The history of truffle offers many surprises. It’s present in Mediterranean cultures from very ancient times: in the Bible (Genesis), Giobbe is referred to as a “dudaims” eater; the Greek created the name “ydnon”, from which idnology (science of truffles). The best names of Latin and Greek culture can be joined with truffles: Plutarch considered it the fruit of a mix of rain, heat and the ground; Plinius defined it as a “miracle of nature”, a “jewel of the ground”; Goivenales called it son of the lighting. The fortune of truffles is surely due also to the aphrodisiac properties it was believed to have, for which it was dedicated to Aphrodites, goddess of love.

In the Middle Ages truffles were unknown. Out of the official culture, they were only present in popular culture; later, they became a traditional gift for the lords. Their fortune changed in the Renaissance, together with the brginning of a true culture of food and cooking. The truffle knew the luxury of the most refined courts, and became an essential ingredient of haute cuisine.

In the Eighteenth century it was discovered from a naturalistic point of view: in this century the micologic science begins. The first official classification of the white truffle was made by count De Borch, a polish naturalist (“Lettres sur les truffes du Piémont” – 1780); he was followed, after a few years, by the official classification of the mushroom as “tuber magnatum” (supposed to be “magnatium”, i.e. “of the greats”) by the Piedmontese scientist Vittorio Pico.

From then on many stidues and books, more and more precise, have been written: At the beginning of the Nineteenth century, idnology was already a true science of its own.