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ON THE SPOT - Interview with our Truffle supplier Alfredo Romani

Q. Alfredo, tell us your story, why you became a truffle importer?

A. It was in 2005, I was contacted by some Chefs, one in particular who was searching for good truffles, I’m coming from an area in Central Italy where truffles are one of the ingredients of the local cuisine then I made contact with some hunters ……..and here we are.

Q. What is a truffle exactly?

A. It is a mushroom variety, in fact, they have spores as mushrooms, it is called hypogeum fungus, a mushroom that grows underground. It was once thought it was a tuber but truffles do not have their own plant as all tubers have.

Q. How many varieties of truffle exist?

A. More than 100 different varieties, but only 9 are edible the most common are, black summer truffle, black Norcia (AKA Perigord), Alba White truffle, black Uncinatum ( autumn ) truffle, Bianchetto ( spring White Truffle ).
 
Q. Can the truffles be farmed?

A. Yes but the process takes a long time with no certainty of success.

Q. Which is the seasonality of the truffles you import?

A. Summer truffles May-August, Autumn truffles October- December, White Truffle October- December, Black Norcia/Perigord truffle December-April.
For each variety, the length of the season depends on the weather conditions. 

Q. Which is the best way to store truffles?

A. Wrapped in a paper towel in a sealed container is the best way to my experience, some suggest to keep it in risotto rice it could be effective as well, however as any other fresh product the sooner it is used the better.

Q. How long do they last?

A. If they are fresh and in good condition, about 10 days with no problems.

Q. Are truffles suitable for vegan or vegetarian?

A. Absolutely, many restaurants use them on dedicated menus to vegan and vegetarian.

Q. Which is the best use for truffle, you use it raw, you cook it?

A. It can be consumed both ways, depends on your taste and the recipes of the dishes.

Q. Is it truffle good with fish too?

A. Yes, more and more Chefs are using truffle on fish dishes.

Q. What do you need to know to become a truffle importer?

A. Good knowledge of the legal stuff, and a good contact with trustworthy, honest and professional hunters…..and of course some customers to sell them to…….

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