Save The Truffle, A Campaign We Are Destined To Support

3b044a32123901-56703376190bcThis is a series of videos realized to launch “Save The Truffle” a new brand aiming to promote traditions and the conservation of the White Truffle of Alba. In this videos Agnello Renato, one of the last and most important “trifulau” (truffle seeker) of the zone, shares his stories about being a truffle seeker.For this project I took care of shooting, lighting and editing.
Creative project by Grid Studio.

Our family has a very happenstance connection to truffles that goes back to some sustainable tourism development work I carried out in Croatia starting in 2000, which led to our nirvanic 2006-2007 spent on an island in the southern Adriatic. But on my first visit to Croatia, in late autumn 2000, on a weekend off from work a local friend took me to Istria and the rest is history. You either love them or you probably will be disgusted by them, and I was in the former camp. A month later, coming home to my family in Costa Rica, I had some vacuum-packed fresh truffles; since then, we have been devotees.

A few years later, Milo became an encyclopedic mycophile, and a few years after that Seth had the chance to take a mycology courses at Cornell as an undergrad. So we are all happy to see this campaign represented by the logo above left. The article that brought our attention to this campaign is worth a read, whether you are a foodie, a fungist, or any kind of traditionalist. Click the logo to see some of the early creative work emerging for the campaign. We look forward to seeing more, but for now appreciate the journalist’s keen eye for what really matters in this story:

Amid Hills of Wine and Truffles, a Mission to Give Fungus Room to Breathe

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Enter “Save the Truffle,” the brainchild of Carlo Marenda, 34, daytime project manager and passionate truffle hunter, and his associate, Edmondo Bonelli, 35, an environmental consultant.

A year ago, the two men met in a chance encounter in a hilltop wood near Alba, the main town of this region in Piedmont, where Barolo is situated. They knew almost immediately that they shared a common goal and complementary skill sets.

While Mr. Marenda had inherited two dogs and much knowledge from an older truffle hunter, Mr. Bonelli had the scientific skill to save the tasty tuber for future generations.

“We both knew the time was ready to promote a new culture,” Mr. Bonelli said.

Soon the two men started meeting with hundreds of truffle hunters and wine producers, and created a website under the “Save the Truffle” name, where they laid out their mission to restore the region’s woods.

As they explain it, their mission is not about preserving merely a luxury product, but also the balance of the environment.

“We don’t do it for the truffles. You might have only two trees in a hectare where they grow,” Mr. Marenda said. “If these abandoned trees get sick, it’s easy for the parasite to travel to the nearby organic wine production. The whole area is in danger.”

They started working with some wine producers who said they understood the importance of protecting the uncultivated forests around their vineyards and tending to them.

Last month, “Save the Truffle” inspired a wider crowdfunding campaign, “Breathe the Truffle,” started by the Alba Truffle Show, an 86-year-old truffle fair in the autumn that allows hunters to sell their mushrooms directly.

It hopes to fund the cleanup of four once truffle-yielding woods in southern Piedmont, and is the first tangible sign of the community’s rising awareness of the need for greater harmony in the environment.

“Truffle hunters were complaining more and more,” Mr. Bonelli explained. “Vineyards and wine sales were doing well, and they had time to focus on something that has a long-term large fallout: environmental preservation.”…

Read the whole article here. The opening photo (below) for the article is reminding me of more than one excursion to the comparable region in northern Croatia, called Istria.

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Below that is one of the videos for the the campaign which, even if you do not speak Italian, is plenty evocative.

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