There is a natural alchemy that happens deep in the forests around Alba – known as the gourmet capital of Piedmont in Italy. Here is where the white truffle grows hidden in the ground among the root stock of those trees it favors, far from passing eyes and only to be found by those who know and truly understand the landscape.
Any attempts made by man to cultivate this unique crop have failed as it defies all efforts and agricultural ingenuity deployed to grow it outside its preferred environment. This makes it both rare and expensive and heightens the excitement about this special gift from nature. It only thrives in a few, uncharted forests of Piedmont where it draws its exquisite flavor from the fertilizer-free soil and its specific growing conditions. All of this depends on the biodiversity of the area with just the right amount of rainfall, a balance of light and shade and the cocooning protection of fallen leaves.
And when the fall months of October and November come and the days grow shorter, it is time for man and dog to work in harmony to tease out these treasures from the soil. This is the moment for the snuffle for the truffle as specialist dogs get their noses to the ground to indicate where to look more closely. It is an ancient process and a gentle one too with no machinery or noise and a respect shown for the forest and what lies beneath its carpet. The secrecy of the searching process adds to its mystique with no guarantee of success and a great need for patience.
Emerging from the ground when the dogs have done their work are the naturalistic forms of the white truffle. Used to flavor and enhance the work of many of the world’s leading chefs, they add complexity, subtlety, and uniqueness to what we taste and it is a feeling which, once experienced, is never forgotten.
Something so rare and precious has a value which extends far beyond the restaurant kitchen. Making the journey from earth to skin, fresh has added to its range of naturally-sourced skincare products with its Crème Ancienne White Truffle Overnight Mask.
Here is a product created to nourish, strengthen and give the skin greater elasticity. To make this happen, fresh has blended a series of key ingredients all gathered responsibly from known locations as part of a series of enduring partnerships with trusted suppliers.
The extract drawn from the foraged white truffles from Alba requires a process of enzymatic extraction which picks out the molecular fingerprint and so recovers all of the truffle’s bioactives. There is also meadowfoam seed oil native to Oregon’s Pacific Coast as well as extracts of commiphora and wild butterfly ginger root. These natural ingredients combine to give skin an extra glow and firmness, fading the appearance of expression lines and supporting skin density, softness and smoothness. Used just two to three nights per week in place of moisturizer and the clinically-proven benefits will soon appear.
It can often be the case that the pillow is the only real beneficiary of overnight masks. However, with its fast absorption below the surface of the skin, Crème Ancienne White Truffle Overnight Mask works the night shift effectively, delivering benefits which endure.
With biodiversity underpinning the life cycle of the white truffle, using its extract fits naturally with the whole ethos of fresh. Its founders, Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg, have a deep commitment to sustainability and a belief that you should never take out more than you put in. As a manifestation of this, freshhas forged a partnership with Save the Truffle, based in Alba which works to protect the eco system on which the white truffle depends.
The Save the Truffle organization is witness to the work Giuseppe Giamesio, a hunter of truffles for many years. Before his death, he inspired Carlo Marenda and his beautiful niece Marta Giameso to continue his work to protect the environment in and around the forests which conceal the truffles and left him his hunting dogs. Carlo has joined forces with environmentalist Edmondo Bonelli as they share ideas about how to protect and enhance the truffle-growing areas which have declined by 30% in recent years. There is much to do to reverse this trend and to restore the balance needed for white truffles to survive and thrive. Their life cycle depends on being able to colonize the roots of certain trees and shrubs in a relationship called mycorrhizal symbiosis. It is a series of mini miracles which allow white truffles to form below the ground and Save the Truffle is dedicated to making sure that these can still happen.
As part of the LVMH family, fresh was the first of the portfolio brands to join the Union for Ethical Bio Trade where the priority is to source ingredients while showing respect to people, cultures and natural diversity. It takes work to be sustainable but fresh is leading the way in showing how change can happen. Thinking about packaging and cutting out waste fit in with the objective set by fresh to achieve a series of measurable objectives before the company’s 40th anniversary in 2031.
It is quite a journey which takes the discoveries made using an ancient hunting technique on misty mornings in the forests of Alba to the jars of Crème Ancienne White Truffle Overnight Mask on the dressing table – and to our skin. In caring for the environment which helps to create its product, fresh perfectly showcases how to make a sustainable approach work in practice.
Founded in 2014, re-launched in 2019 – by Nel-Olivia Waga. It is an international luxury lifestyle blog, that features stories under the aspect of a conscious mindset. It collaborates with leading brands and specialists who share the idea of generating a positive impact in the world. Based in Zurich and London, it covers local hotspots and global trends around sustainability, innovation, well-being, health, beauty, travel, time, art, business and charity.
Nel-Olivia Waga is the Founder & Publisher of HER/etiquette. She is a Brand Consultant, an Author and Entrepreneur, most passionate about well-being, travel, nature and art. Her work can regularly be seen in her column on FORBES. Her consultancy YMPACT LAB, creates innovative marketing projects for luxury brands based on passion, purpose and sustainable impact.
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