Tartufo Siciliano

White gold in the woods of Piazza Armerina
After the black truffle of Palazzolo Acreide, nell'Ennese that precious until recently exclusive of Piedmont
Newspaper "La Sicilia" Sunday, April 13, 2014
Greek Carmen (our correspondent)

Piazza Armerina. The white truffle is not only to Alba, but also in the woods of Piazza Armerina. The news is greedy, not so much for the gourmet willing to pay 3000-3500 euro per kilo for this species, the most valuable of these absolute prized underground mushrooms, but because "graduation" Sicily as truffle ground. Not that, to date, the truffle Sicilian did not talk about himself (in Palazzolo Acreide, near Syracuse, where Santino Spata, former mayor of Palazzolo, in the eighties, is one of the most popular quarrymen of Sicily; the mountains sicani to Burgio, the other key figure is Mario Prestifilippo, an expert in the area of natural truffle).
So far, however, the truffle Sicilian has spoken with the dropper. More convenient for the miners to sell our house in great secrecy in the streets of Northern Italy (the black summer, so-called "black truffle", between 150 and 350 euro per kilo, the "white out" and the black winter on the 350-500 euro kilo).
The novelty is that the Tuber magnatum Pico, the scientific name of the white truffle, also known as "truffle of Alba," or Piedmont, and white truffle of Acqualagna, had never been found in Sicily. Or, rather, he was never officially found. An event - say mycologists and not only them - that will surely contribute to bring out into the open Sicilian truffles, that greedy on the international market. Especially since these first findings was given in an article published in the official gazette "Journal of Mycology" Mycological Association Bresadola signed mycologists Gianrico Vasquez, Giuseppe Zuccalà, Mario Dollo and Gianluca Messina, an avid collector of Piazza armerina that last November found the precious white truffles.
"And 'all started by chance - says Gianrico Vasquez, mycologist, course director for mycologists in Sicily -. For some years Zuccalà Joseph, an expert mycologist of Barry, I was talking about findings of Tuber magnatum Pico in Sicily, however, as good scientists we need to see to believe, and since he was a little 'reluctant, probably a bit' jealous of secret, such as miners, I had abandoned it. Then, one day, I saw pictures on facebook of Tuber magnatum Pico, published by a boy of Piazza Armerina, Gianluca Messina. I jumped from the chair, I contacted him, advised him to immediately remove the photos from facebook and take the place of the discovery. There with my truffle dog called, coincidentally, Pico, we found truffles of Alba. At the time I said nothing, I wanted the comfort of the microscope. We sent the samples to the laboratory of mycology of Bologna, we did all the necessary investigations and we had confirmation of the good news: it was Tuber magnatum Pico. Truffles we found them in Contrada Leano, in the territory of Piazza Armerina. Zuccalà, however, he had found them in the woods of Bubudello, but always near Piazza in the town of Enna. So we decided to proceed with the publication. "
But because it comes only now truffles Sicilian? "Why has finally realized it could be a new source of income - responds Giuseppe Zuccalà, mycologist, among the strongest supporters of the first truffle Sicilian -. So far he had found, but the miners had sold in the most prestigious fairs and squares as national truffle of Acqualagna and Norcia. Now is not the time for secrets, you have to come out, you have to wake up. I think it's just time. "
Truffles, in Sicily, in fact, have always existed. They were called "cheat" and were already on the table of the Benedictine monks of Catania for special occasions. The "porcari" already picked them up without much enthusiasm, but it was the "Monsù" to elevate to fine food and elite. In The Leopard set in 1870, it describes a dinner of timbale of macaroni and truffles. Prof. Giuseppe Inzenga, one of the most distinguished mycologists Sicilian was the first to talk about truffles in Sicily trail 1850 and 1880. For Avola, Joseph White, natural scientist, he found the first truffle at the end of the nineteenth century.
Without going too far back in time, the University of Palermo, 20 years ago, had done his studies of truffles Sicilian realizing a mapping of truffle zones and, ultimately, the possibility of launching any activities truffle.
"The problem is that so far - looks Zuccalà - all these statements have not been accompanied by a communication campaign and especially marketing that could enhance the truffles Sicilian virtually unknown. Instead, not only our forests are rich in truffles but, in Sicily, truffles can also grow with the dual objective of diversifying traditional crops and create an alternative product by excellent organoleptic properties. Alba all this have made for years managed to create a global brand. But the truffle is not only grows there, grows with us in Sicily, but also in the Marche, Abruzzo, Molise. "
Which is, in Sicily, the area more "suited" for the collection depends on the type of truffles. "Certainly - said Gianrico Vasquez - the area of the Iblei has primacy because it was the first to be discovered, is a calcareous soil and often calcareous soil, a soil that is" basic "get on very well with the truffles, especially Tuber aestivum also called scorzone. It turned out, however, that other grounds are fine, Piazza Armerina, the Trapanese, the area dell'agrigentino, mountains Erei mountains Sicani. Truffles were found both on the Nebrodi to Etna. Etna in 2007 we found the "whitebait" Tuber borchii. And then Tuber magnatum Pico, the prized white. So far, the area to the south of Italy where it was found was that of the Pollino in Calabria. Now, we find in the heart of Sicily, a fact that greatly expands the areal growth of this underground fungus so rare. Sicily, to date, is the southernmost region of Europe, latitudinally, in which it was found. We mycologists was anxious to give notice. Faced with a discovery like that there are two choices: either you shut up and you keep him for yourself by reserving your friends the pleasure of a plate of tagliatelle with truffles, or disclose the news. We chose the second option. The hope now is to promote a product in more for our land, a niche product that has nothing to envy to that which is harvested in the north and central Italy but that can be a pride Sicilian along with our other products . We hope that this discovery will help to create a "culture of truffles", the chefs are beginning to use them, and the creation of a gastronomic consciousness, economic and cultural development of these valuable and expensive fruits of the forests of the island. "


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