5 Minute Read | By Gino De Blasio
Stage 7 of the Giro and today we are in Foligno, Umbria. Aside from the beautiful scenery, today we want to talk about a family that has somehow managed to make it into every TV Box around the world and we can’t understand how but it has to do with market economics, and selfies, or we think. Umbria is also home of the much talked about truffle, you know, the mould like fungus that gets people stupidly excited when they’re shaving it on their pasta.
Today is also a stage for the sprinters; Marcel Kittel is surely the man to watch, if anything for his impressive hair and not that his thighs are bigger than an average person’s torso.
Kim couldn’t find anything to wear, apparently. When you’re a reality TV superstar married to one of the most prolific yet allegedly broke rap stars of the world, it seems finding clothes, clean or even dirty (it happens to all of us!) is quite hard.
The instagram post caused controversy with Bette Midler’s unhappiness prompting a very mature response from KK. “Hey @BetteMidler I know it’s past your bedtime but if you’re still up and reading this send nudes #justkidding.” Chloe Moretz (1) was then attacked since “no one knows who she is…” Don’t mess with Kim, or her inability to find underwear or even a t-shirt.
You could be mistaken for thinking that Kim Kardashian managed to somehow post a photograph of her naked self without realising… and comment on it… and reply to negative messages. WILL THIS WOMAN STOP MESMERISING US ALL?
The rise of the Kardashian “empire” could be best compared to an Albert Roux (2) souffle; full of air, interesting to look at but always leaving you asking for “is that it?” OK, that seems unfair, but ask many outside of the celebrity circles in the world and it’s hard to understand how some LA socialites became the faces of 00’s pop culture.
With an “estimated net worth is £150 million (around $300 million) – and rising,” appearing on over 120 magazine covers and a social media presence that makes you think Instagram is working for them and not the other way round; the Kardashian fascination doesn’t appear to be slowing down. The new entrant to the family circle, Kendal Jenner, is strutting her stuff on the world’s catwalks and making the most of the family fame and her natural beauty. (If only we were all blessed with such genetics… and contacts… )
Break down the barriers to the advertising glitz and glamour and you are left with however a somewhat culturally vacuous fascination between the “how”, “why” and “when the hell did this all happen?”. It used to be that such fame was reserved for film stars, athletes and world leaders because they did something.
It used to be that such fame was reserved for film stars, athletes and world leaders because they did something.
But like most things that generate income on this planet, the market has decided that the Kardashians and their ventures are actually worth a value. A handbag on eBay can retail anywhere between £15 ($22) to £150 ($215). From fashion collections which carry their name to their own social media feeds and reality TV show which promotes them across different platforms to different audiences, they have managed to carve a presence that people want to buy into. As vacuous as the last selfie may seem, the market has decided it’s worth a high price tag.
It’s no different to the Umbrian market of truffles when you break it down into its basic economic pater. Take Macau casino owner, Stanley Po. Not content with his usual array of dining goods, he paid $330,000 (£165,000) for a specimen weighing 1.5 kilograms (3.3 lb), discovered by Luciano Savini and his dog Rocco.
Whilst this would have made content the most avid of truffle connoisseurs, Stanley, it seems, wasn’t stopping there. Just three years later, in 2010, Stanley Po paid the same price for a pair of white truffles weighing nearly a kilo. Like every great economic factor though, demand and supply (3) for a product is going to influence price. In 2014, the world’s largest white truffle, discovered near Foligno by Sabatino Tartufi weighed 3.93 lbs it went to auction looking to break the impressive record set by Stanley Po. Alas, after only mild interest (although major PR coverage across Italy and America at the time), the white funghi, sorry, truffle, collected a mere $50,000 (£35,000).
Start the week on the right foot – Whole wheat linguine with black autumn truffles. #truffles #blacktruffle #pasta #autumn #healthyfood #vegetarian #vegan #pastaandtruffles #italianfinefood #londonfoodies #italianfood
A photo posted by Pasta & Truffles (@pastandtruffles) on
Now, $50,000 (£35,000) for a fungus that is cultivated in specific areas to be shaved on pasta or risotto may seem completely ludicrous, and it is, yet in comparison to previous records, you have to start wondering if the fascination with the condiment traditionally sniffed out by pigs, now dogs, is starting to wane in the market.
With a season lasting on average 10 weeks, truffle hunting for either the black (more common variety) or white versions leads many from distant shores going on truffle hunts searching for a fungus that could change their capital wealth rather considerably.
And yet, the interest in truffles, whilst it didn’t command a higher price in 2014 rather than in 2010, has shown to still be popular. So popular in fact that in late 2015, Richey, Justin and Terry of Oregon graced our screens in the Discovery channels new reality show; Truffle Wars, where “a secret world of foraging has been unearthed!”
in late 2015, Richey, Justin and Terry of Oregon graced our screens in the Discovery channels new reality show; Truffle Wars, where “a secret world of foraging has been unearthed!
If that didn’t make you reach for YouTube clips and holler in excitement, nothing will.
Truffle’s which have been part of the Umbrian diet for generations have however divided the nation… and other nations. It’s like an international version of marmite. (A yeast extract spread, taste at your peril)
As Myffy Rigby commented in his distaste for the fungus in an open blog on the Guardian “what’s the difference between the truffle and the tomato? That tomato, so sweet it’s like eating dessert, is going to taste great. That truffle? Who knows? It’s a crapshoot and the dice are loaded against you.”
The market is constantly deciding that it costs a fortune. The market is placing a price tag that a shaving on your pasta should make it cost a sh*t load more. The market has decided that if you speak against the delicacy, you are going to be forced to eat your words in some antiquated way of mathematical wizardry and cultural significance.
The market has decided that whilst the price tag can be justified your taste buds cannot. This is the food equivalent of a Kardashian selfie.
Whilst there aren’t a lot of truffle recipes, aside from finely shaving the underground delicacy on your pasta there are some things you can do to place it on a culinary stage. This bruschetta al tartufo (Italian language) is a way to highlight your bruschetta making skills, fit for any occasion. If a traditional spaghetti of the area is more your thing, then strangozzi al tartufo nero (Italian language) could be for you!
1. Chloe Moretz is a young American actress who made it to our subconscious as the character of Hit Girl in the brilliant and super gory, yet impressively realistic film, Kick Ass. In it, she uses so much profanity you may want to warn your adult ears that a child can be so vociferous.
2. You’re reading a food blog, OK, a food story blog. You should know who Albert Roux is. The godfather of French cuisine and pastry. He is super cool as well.
3. Demand and Supply is an economic principle that has influenced every economic thought for the last century or so. In fairness for much longer but we’ve managed to make sense of it more in the last 100 years. It’s simple, you have a product, someone wants to buy it. That sets a price. If two people want to buy it, then you start to adjust the price to be higher. If no one wants it, you lower it to the point that someone will make an offer. Demand and supply works in economics, travel and your love life. Let’s leave that one there for you to wonder over.
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