Having supplied chefs with Tuber magnatum for over ten years, Friend & Burrell understands the culinary world’s frustration in ascertaining their provenance. No value or quality is added by secret trading markets, the criminal activities of rogue traders, smuggling at borders or passing through multiple hands. These conditions deprive licensed truffle hunters of fair reward and diners of the chance to enjoy these white diamonds recognising their origin.
The secret’s been out for a few years now: while Italy will always be respected as the original home of the Tuber magnatum (the Madonna D'Alba), Mother Nature never restricted these magical beauties to the borders of one country. Beautiful white truffles grow in various pristine wild forests in Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Albania as well as in northern Greece. We now know that since the 1960's, many of the magnatum believed to have come from Alba actually came from these areas outside of Italy.
In the past few years, Friend & Burrell has invested in personal, trusting relationships with highly skilled, many inter-generational, ethical hunters of beautiful magnatum in Istria (Croatia), Hungary, and Serbia.
Our colleague, Sebestyen Gyulay Forest foods has become a leading source of the most beautiful, wild harvested ingredients from the depths of Hungary’s forests including the highest grade wild chanterelle mushrooms and “bouchon” porcini mushrooms, as well as the wild blueberry. When nature allows during the European autumn, Sebestyen also sources the beautiful white truffle − the “trifola d’Alba Madonna” (“Truffle of the White Mother”), famously found in Piedmont, northern Italy, and naturally fruiting in Hungarian national parks and forests. The mighty Tuber Magnatum winter variety remains resistant to human cultivation; perfect wild treasures, which have mystified and intoxicated human beings, and certain animals, since ancient times, with their warm fragrance and earthy, musky, pungent complexity.