TRUFFLES AND MUSHROOMS

The woods are a symbol of a territory which is a powerful daily presence in the lives of the Marchigiani, even after the widespread migration towards the coastal regions. Its production is varied and abundant: chestnuts, walnuts, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and juniper berries. But the title of ‘king’ belongs to the truffle, while the court, if you will, belongs to the mushrooms.

The Marche is known for its cultivation of truffle, both white and black, and is one of the few regions in Italy which can boast a good level of production of the main varieties. Zones like the inland areas of Pesaro-Urbino and part of the hinterlands of Ascoli Piceno, Fermo, Macerata and Ancona are where truffles typically grow.

The most prized truffle is the Tartufo Bianco (white truffle or tuber magnatum Pico). It can be found at Sant’Angelo in Vado and Acqualagna, in the province of Pesaro- Urbino, but it also grows in some of the other provinces. Truffle harvesting, or hunting, takes place from the 1st of October through to the end of the year. Black truffles (tuber melano- sporum) ripen from mid-November to mid-March and are widespread above all in Acqualagna, Cagli, Acquasanta Terme, Roccafluvione, Comunanza, Montefortino, Camerino and Visso.

The Bianchetto or Marzuolo (tuber Borchii) variety is also typical and gathered late winter around Fossombrone, but in other areas as well. And then there are the summer and winter varieties – tuber aestivum and tuber uncinatum chatin.

Nowadays there are special techniques to cultivate truffles, trufflegenerating plants are produced and used to replant in the woods and for organised cultivation.

Acqualagna (PU) boasts a centuries-old truffle production tradition and the conservation and marketing activities surrounding it have grown steadily. So much so, in fact, that it is here that in November of every year they hold the Fiera Nazionale del Tartufo (National Truffle Fair). The fame and quality standards of the event has attracted the attention of truffle producers from all over Italy and abroad, men and women who are carefully selected before they are permitted to show and sell only the best of their niche harvest. It’s an event that’s all about flavour, and tradition, history and authentic tastes.

A research centre was set up in 1980 at Sant’Angelo in Vado (PU) to study truffle cultivation, and a yearly white truffle show is held, the Mostra Nazionale del Tartufo Bianco, which features the finest varieties and samples gathered in the Marche.

In Amandola (FM) they celebrate “Diamanti a Tavola”, or the “Diamonds on the Dinner Table” show and fair during the first weekend of November, dedicated to the prized white truffles to be found in the Sibillini mountains area and other typical products. Hunting for mushrooms is another very popular activity and has resulted in the establishment of several interesting mycology centres. Many of the mushrooms picked can be safely eaten and are sold in local markets: porcini, San Giorgio, ovules, morels, button mushrooms, chanterelles, morette, parasol mushrooms, nebbioli and many others.

Text was taken up and elaborated by the pubblication “Made in Marche – 0km flavours and quality shopping”