San Miniato white truffles a hit in the Gulf region

Kuwait among guests at 43rd national market in Tuscan town

15 October, 15:46

    (ANSAmed) - ROME, OCTOBER 15 - White truffles have made their way to Gulf tables as the latest Italian luxury food to catch on in the region, and Kuwait will be part of the 43rd San Miniato National White Truffle Market for three weekends in November (9-10, 16-17 and 23-24).

    Dozens of initiatives as well as wine and food tasting and cultural events are planned, said the head of the foundation for the promotion of San Miniato, Delio Fiordispina, on Monday evening at the Rome presentation of the culinary festival.

    "On November 9," Fiodispina added, "in the presence of Kuwait's ambassador to the FAO, Yousef Juhail, an exhibition will be inaugurated among the stands in the historic centre by the name "Kuwait, from sailing to oil". The initiative is meant as a way to raise awareness about the country while also spreading knowledge about the production of an Italian speciality product with a lengthy history behind it. Traces of truffles have been found dating back to ancient times in many Mediterranean countries "from Cyrenaica, where the species was called 'terfezia', to Mesopotamia." Much sought out by wealthy Romans from the nobility who paid dearly for them, truffles were called ''funus agens'' ('death-bringers'), since if eaten in massive quantities they could result in fatal cases of indigestion. They were a highly-prized product also in Italian and European courts throughout the centuries, from Louis XVI to Talleyrand and from Rossini to Verdi - who held them in high esteem - and have taken on a 'must-have' status in Gulf countries in the XXI century. "The white truffle of San Miniato is produced in quantities ranging from 80 to 100 quintals per year in the best of seasons, and is harvested in an area that includes 32 municipalities in the Pisa and Florence provinces", which account for some 20-25% of the national production of high-quality white truffles. The market should also be protected from fraud, however.

    "Truffles do not have any traceability and it is difficult to understand where they have come from," Fiordispina pointed out.

    And so even now Libyan truffles, for example, enter Italian territory labelled as 'terfezia', sold for 80 cents a kilo, and are later sold off as 'white truffles'. Counterfeiting is a somewhat of a threat from all Mediterranean countries, however, since the tuber grows in many of them. The event will showcase culinary mixing and mingling, as well. "We have planned a number of special initiatives connected with street food. With the Saharawi, for example, we will try to bring together couscous and San Miniato truffles." The Tuscan city, Fiordispina noted, ''is twinned with the city of Boujdour in the Western Sahara as well as with Bethlehem, with which we will try to create a special dish.'' (ANSAmed).

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