A little bit of truffle history
It was always him, Giacomo Morra. In 1928, after having purchased the Hotel Savona in Alba, he set up the first "Exhibition of the precious truffles of the Langhe", which two years later became the Truffle Fair of Alba. His idea was a huge success of public and of visibility that the city acquired internationally.
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It was Giacomo Morra (1889 - 1963), the famous person from Alba nicknamed by everybody the King of the truffle. It was he who with his great sense of business and his savoir faire, knew how to spread the name of Alba in the world and to make known the precious mushroom to the celebrities of his time, creating an atmosphere of adoration for the truffle. He sent magnificent specimens of white truffles to Rita Hayworth, to the American president Harry Truman, to Winston Churchill, to Ethiopia emperor Hailé Selassié and many others. In 1961 Marilyn Monroe came directly to Alba to pick up this object of worship that had been given to her, she was hosted inside the Hotel Savona owned by Giacomo and the following day she also experimented a truffle hunt in the woods, of which she said satisfied because "I had not been walking in the woods between a set and a living room for years, I did not know what it meant anymore, thanks for letting me rediscover it, I will always remember it, thanks again".
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Carlo Vittadini was a Milanese botanist and mycologist of the early nineteenth century and is considered the greatest hypogeal mushroom scholar with discoveries that are still today the basis of modern mycology. His studies on Tuberaceae, so on truffles, allowed him to identify 51 completely new species, which we find in his writing "Monographia Tuberacearum" (of 1831) together with 5 splendid tables illustrated by himself and detailed by microscopic elements. This is why many truffles also bear the abbreviation "Vittad." in the scientific name, which refers to the surname of this important Milanese scholar. For example, in the name of the black summer truffle: Tuber Aestivum Vittadini. Vittadini also bought a dog that trained in the search for truffles so as to better investigate this world that so passionate him.
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Many linguists have asked themselves this question, and some argue that the word truffle derives from the Latin terrae tufer (excrescence of the earth), although the Romans actually called it terrae tuber. Or it may originate from tufule tubera, the title of a medieval collection dedicated to truffles. From here we can guess how at that time people thought of a sort of link between the truffle and the tuff. The term spread throughout Italy and also in Europe, in fact even today we can clearly see that the same root is also present in English with truffle, in German with Trüffel, in French with truffe, in Spanish with trufa.
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