Throughout the middle Ages, truffles virtually disappeared from sight. This is because at one time, the church felt that because of their exotic aroma, truffles were the creation of the devil. They were sometimes known as the “witch’s fares”, and for centuries, few people ate or sold them. During the Renaissance, truffles made a comeback through the reign of Louis XIV, who not only saved them from obscurity, but also pushed them into the forefront of one of Europe’s most respected dish. The king was fascinated by the nature of truffles and set out to cultivate them, which proved to be unsuccessful.
By the mid-1800s, the truffle experienced its largest production to date. Over 2,000 tons of truffles appeared throughout Europe. This age of abundance and wealth did not last long. After World War I, many of the rural lands were destroyed and the growth of truffles lowered dramatically. It reached its lowest by the 1960s, producing less than 400 tons. Today, truffles are still a rare delicacy, reserved for the most special of occasions.