|The valuable nuggets in the past allegedly used to reach Gods and witches, while today the major part ends up in gourmet specialties for “ordinary mortals”|
Our Istrian Truffle
We present you the Istrian truffle encyclopedia...
OUR ISTRIAN TRUFFLE
The book titled «Our Istrian Truffle» is the real and comprehensive encyclopedia of the Istrian truffle. It first describes the notion of truffles in ancient Greece and Rome followed by the observations stemming from the Arab and European medieval writers and papal officers. It traces how the knowledge of truffles has developed from the new ages until the modern times and the first true analyses of its characteristics including the aroma, beneficial effects, gastronomic and culinary benefits. Giancarlo Zigante devoted himself to studying when and how the appreciated white truffle (Tuber magnatum Pico) was found in Istria as well as to learning of truffle traditions. This book is also a summary of his recollections and experience of old truffle hunters from Istria, truffle habitats in Istria, local truffles in gastronomy and cuisine, their processing and pairing with other premium Istrian ingredients. The book 'Our Istrian Truffle' is also Giancarlo Zigante's autobiography as well as the story of his family: of the Guinness world record, the family factory, Zigante truffle shops, culinary delights at the Zigante Restaurant, and the Zigante Truffle Days – the longest truffle fair there is. This is the book about Istria, its people, traditions, natural resources and beauties promoted so tirelessly by Giancarlo Zigante and his family.
Available in croatian and english.
|HIDDEN UNDERGROUND JUST LIKE A REAL TREASURE|
The valuable nuggets in the past allegedly used to reach Gods and witches, while today the major part ends up in gourmet specialties for “ordinary mortals”
Truffles are a variety of edible fungi growing underground, mostly besides roots of trees such as oak, beech, poplar, willow and elm. They are shaped like tubers and they are often compared with potatoes when it comes to their appearance. They usually grow from the size of a cherry up to the size of an apple, but sometimes significantly bigger specimens are found (like the famous Zigante Millenium weighing 1310 g). In the culinary world the most popular are the two basic varieties: black and white truffle.
Truffles grow all across Europe, Asia, North and South America, but France and Italy are considered to be the most significant finding sites. The most famous finding site in Croatia is the valley of the river Mirna in Istria.
Truffles are picked solely after they are ripe. The search or the so called hunting is led by a professional truffle hunter, while the truffles are found by trained dogs with a subtle sense of smell. In the past this was done by pigs, but nowadays this is rare. Namely, even though pigs are very skilled in finding truffles, all they find they often eat by themselves.
After the dog indicates the truffle position by digging with his paws and receives a reward for the finding, the truffle hunter carefully digs out the fungi taking care not to damage it. After that he/she closes the resulting hole in order to make it possible for a new root to develop that is new truffles to grow. Truffles are then washed, sorted and evaluated, taking into consideration the scent, size, shape and general impression. During evaluation a truffle can also be notched in order for the colour of its inside to become visible. Sorted and clean, truffles are finally packaged for transportation.
Truffles can also be described as gourmet fungi because their fragrance is tart, intensive, earthy securing the food a unique flavour. They are used in small quantities which are still sufficient to turn every dish into a gourmet experience. It is not easy do describe the truffles aroma, and thus associations vary from “forest floor” and “chocolate and soil mix” to “old socks” and they are often accompanied with the epithet of eroticism. Regardless of the varying comments, the pursuit for truffles is always multiply higher than the demand, and thus the price can reach incredible 2000 Euro per kilogram.