The City of Truffles
The White Truffle from the San Miniato celebrate a geographical truffle-producing area that extends towards the inland countryside of Pisa. This White truffle is known as the Tuber Magnatum Pico, itis the most valuable kind of this underground fungi. They can only be found in a limited number of areas favoured by nature for the particular almost mysterious combination of forest fauna and geological substratum. These truffles are of the highest quality not only because of the fertility of the woods, but also because of the care taken and the deep respect for the environment where they grow.
Regulated by strict controls and a regional law that defines how they are gathered and marketed, the White Truffle of San Miniato is served in the best restaurants in the world. Gathered with moderation and selectivity, production is limited due to the brevity of their season (the three months of October, November and December). San Miniato has an incredible primate, with the largest truffle ever found, a fragrant tuber weighing in at 2.520 grams, which was presented to President of the United States Eisenhower in 1954.
Even if this products had always existed in the territory, it is in the earli XX century that San Miniato became an ideal spot for hunters and their families, the so-called Tartufai delle Colline Samminiatesi (Truffle-gatherers of the San Miniato Hills). This groups is now composed by more than 400 gatherers in the Egola, Elsa and Era Valleys, all tributaries of the bigger Arno River. This "society" is composed by many families, each has their own secrets handed down through generations, their truffle dogs and their hidden paths in oak, poplar and holm oak forests.
The white truffle is a local business and culture. For forty years the Mostra Mercato Nazionale del Tartufo Bianco (The National White Truffle of San Miniato Show), transformed the city gathering for the entire month of November a huge open-air tasting workshop. The whole historical centre is full of stands and markets where the truffles are displayed together with other tipical products on San miniato and from the Italian cusines in general.
The Truffle Show, however, is just the peak of what this extraordinary season has to offer: down in the countryside towns, smaller festivals take place in October: The Corazzano Festival, at the foot of the Romanesque parish of San Giovanni Battista and the Balconevisi Festival, in the ancient village of the Florentine Strozzi family, when each quarter participates in a goose race. And in March the early Marzuolo truffle can be tasted in Cigoli, birthplace of Lodovico Cardi who rivalled Correggio as the leader of Mannerism. Each villages is the true home of the oldest truffle dynasty families.