Compiling the Truffle FAQ - can you help?

Gene its_not_down at
Sat Sep 13 23:35:47 EST 1997

Tanith_Tyrr wrote:
(very snipped)

>I am compiling a truffle FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

>Specifically I am seeking: 

>Historical data - Food ethnologist's perspectives on the historical use 
>of truffles in cooking as well as superstitions and beliefs surrounding 

Two references and a comment:

"The History of Food", by Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat (Blackwell
Publishers, 1994) contains a section called The History of Truffles
(pages 434-441).  It surveys several thousands of years of writing
about truffles.  It also includes a fair amount of information about
current truffle production in France, Spain and Italy.

"Serve It Forth", by M.F.K. Fisher (North Point Press, 1989), has a
wonderful account of "the last virgin woman truffle-hunter in all of
France!"  ("...we had to gather secretly because the Church was
opposed to women truffle-hunters.  The idea of an old virgin sniffing
over the hills, with a pack of men hot at her heels -- it is
disgusting to the Church...")

Both of these sources also discuss the aphrodisiac qualities of

Comment: A little while back, Tanith also wrote:

>I recently had the privilege of doing a parallel tasting of 
>two white truffles from different continents - the Perigord 
>white against the cultivated Oregon white truffle.
>The cultivated Oregon white truffle lacks the complex, 
>peppery-garlic aroma and taste of its more familiar Perigord 
 (more snip)

Are you sure you were tasting a "Perigord white" truffle?  I'm hardly
an expert -- my first-hand experience with truffles has been very
limited, and my reading only slightly less so, but the only white
truffles I ever heard of come from Alba, in Italy.  And there's this,
from "The History of Food":
  "There are several kinds of true truffles.  Périgord truffles 
   are black both inside and out... Others again are entirely 
   white: these are the white truffles of Alba, the pride of the 
   Piedmont.  Their faintly garlicky flavour is different from 
   that of the black truffle."

Finally, here's a fun fact, from the same book: "In 1980 France
imported 30 tonnes of Spanish truffles and gave them the prestigious
description 'French'."  Sacre bleu!!
E-mail address: moc.suiris at enegreve
                               <--- Read it this way.

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