In 2004, the half kilo truffle was the biggest but in the Zigante shop of Livade is on exhibit a bronze molding of a 1,310 g white truffle that was found in Livade on November 2nd 1999. It has been recorded in the Guinness book of World Record as the record truffle found in the world. This truffle was named Millennium, and used by Carlo Zigante to prepare a dinner for 100 guests with it as a main dish with the goal to promote truffles from Istria.
In another part of the showroom, several tables present truffles for sale. If you click on the picture, you will see the name of the merchant written over the table, behind Zdenka (VT Nikaenen) preparing herself to take a picture. The first who began to purchase, trade and process Istrian white truffle was Carlo Zigante in 1990. After his first shop in Livade, he opened others in Pula, in Buzet and has now more than half a dozen shops.
For more information , visit Zigante
On most tables, the truffles are kept under a glass cover that allows seeing them but keeps the scent. For those who have never smelled the white truffle, it is very special and strong. Some find it has a garlic scent but the flavor is much richer and complex.
The record truffle, shown here, was "only" a little more than 500 grams ! It was bought on auction by Carlo Zigante, here in the middle of the picture. The price of the white truffle depends of the market. During the Truffle days, it ranged from 12 kuna (2 euros) per gram for the smallest to 30 kuna (5 euros) and more for the biggest.
Look on this close-up how the fritaja looks like. The white truffle is not really white but pale grayish-brownish. The slices of truffle appear as darker than the scrambled eggs. There is plenty of truffle in that delicious tartufata. Really worth the travel !
Experts are busy looking at the white truffles, smelling them on every side, checking their firmness, evaluating their size, their color and noting everything on the "exam" sheet. The evaluation of each expert will be summed up to point out the single truffle winner and the truffle batch winner.
Bronze record white truffle is great but does not taste ! Let us go back to real truffle for taste. Here, a cook is preparing a "Fritaja", scrambled eggs added with thinly cut truffles tastes better than a bronze truffle!
Bronze record white truffle is great but does not taste ! Let us go back to real truffle for taste. Here, a cook is preparing a "Fritaja", scrambled eggs added with thinly cut truffles.
Zdenka aka Nykaenen while taking picture of Hrvojka aka FRONA in front of the tent where the main event of the truffels took place. There was exibition and competition for the best and most valuable truffels found this year.
Im sure Zdenka wont like this picture, cannot say that for our fellow Vter and friend from the northern part of Europe.
The truffels in the competition for the best in year 2004. This is the final selection of those truffels which passed the preliminary round. International jury, composed of Italian and Croatian experts, have carefully examinated found Istrian white truffels, which is the best in the world.
The official opening ceremony of the "IVth White Truffle days" was held with speeches by organizers and local authorities. The whole ceremony was conducted by the lady on the right of the picture who presented, commented and animated the show, alternatively in Croat, in Italian, in English and in German, all four languages that she spoke perfectly and practiced at the same (very fast !) speed !
Here a Television crew interviews and films Carlo Zigante for the News. I would not be surprised if that happened every weekend during the month of October as he owns the only company that trade and process white truffle in Istria.
After a couple of hours of very detailed examination, the international jury has proclaimed the winner. This piece of truffel have more then half a kilogram of weight, good enough to make "fritaja" for at least hundred of people.
On a long table, the best samples of white truffles were on show on silver trays, with an identification number, either alone for the largest samples or as batches when smaller. Single and batches were to compete separately.
2004 has not been a good year for the white truffle. There has not been enough rain when the truffles were supposed to grow. 1999 had been a very good year in Istria but since then, each year, the crop has been rather mean.
On this picture, Carlo Zigante smells deeply the strong flavor of the big one ! When one knows how strong is the scent of a miserable 10 g white truffle, one cannot imagine how a 500 g truffle may scent!