The history of truffles or as many call the fungi, tartufo, is one of folklore and intrigue. The pricey truffle has played a prominent role in Greece for both its nutrition, aphrodisiac properties and for culinary uses as well. Let’s take a look at the role of the truffle in Greek society from ancient times to modern-day.
Dating as far back as the 1st century AD, this fungi found its way into the lime light as the Greek philosopher Plutarch of Chaperone claimed that “hydnon,” or truffle, came into existence as a result of the combined action of water, heat and thunderbolts as Zeus hurled a thunderbolt to Earth which landed close to an oak tree!
If that’s not exciting enough and doesn’t intrigue you to try some truffles, you might want to take note that ever since ancient times, truffles have been considered to have aphrodisiac properties. The ancient Greek physician Galen sang praises of the fungus writing that not only was it a delicious delight, but that “the truffle is very nourishing and can direct voluptuousness.” Oh-la-la! How can you resist that?
Mentions of truffles in history is scare to none during the Middle Ages, however, during the Renaissance Caterina de’ Medici and Lucrezia Borgia make mention of the fungi at prestigious banquets all over Europe in exquisite dishes. The legend continues on from there as the underground fungi found its way into modern history as a pricey delicatessen.
Nowadays, Greeks use truffles in a number of dishes such as meat, pasta, rice, chick peas and soups. Or maybe you prefer trying out a recipe from Ancient Greece using truffles? For more information about recipes and buying authentic truffles online check out: