Visiting Abruzzo’s Campovalano Tartufo Sagra is a time to indulge in some olfactory summer truffle-loving, enjoying some of its wide piatti selections and combined tastiness. It was some of the best food that I have eaten at a sagra – no wonder it was very busy.
It’s also the place to learn a few things about this revered food item, particularly if like me the closest you have got to an Italian truffle is in a sauce jar or shaved or grated delicately onto something else in a restaurant. Campovalano’s sagra is the place to get out and explore these knobbly warty wonders that literally translate as “lump” in Latin – next time you get called that when you have put on weight think of how certain lumps are regarded as potent aphrodisiacs!
Although eaten since the Babylonians, it is the Greeks & Romans that first labelled truffles as having aphrodisiac qualities which until scientifically proven otherwise are solely in the nose so to speak. They replicate the male pheromone Androstenone, think musky man underarm sweat – perhaps this explains their popularity with the Greeks & Romans and maybe explains why I don’t actually like truffle cheese! This same complex musty, fusty, oily, mushroomy, nutty earth smell is what drives lady piggies wild, a mating call so to speak hence, them being the ideal hunting partners to sniff them out.
If you’re planning a visit to Abruzzo in July try and swing by this summer truffle sagra & take advantage of its small but excellent gourmet market with very good Abruzzo prices; if not visit the lovely local truffle shop, Tartufi Tassoni on the through road of the Campovalano that is open throughout the year, me I am now going to see where I can go on a winter white truffle hunt!
– Christened by Rossini “A Halo of Perfumed Ecstasy”
– Female truffles are stronger than their male counterparts
– Summer truffles have less aphrodisiac qualities to their winter cousins
– White truffles have been described as having more of garlic, gas leak, seedy barroom flavour by food writer James Peterson
Summer Truffles – Scorzone or Tartufo Estivo
Truffles are tartufo & truffle hunters are called trifolau
Useful website about Abruzzo Truffles – Abruzzo Tartufi