This article deals with the emergence of the Umbrian truffle business in the period between 1860 and 1918, paying special attention to the Franco-Umbrian connection in truffle affairs. The central question is how and why the French truffle sector, which during the whole nineteenth century completely dominated the global truffle market, could cede its hegemonic position to a handful of Umbrian companies. Thematically, the focus is on the role of technical expertise in this commercial exchange, especially on the mutual transfer of packaging techniques. It is argued that the advances made by Umbrian companies in food preservation were closely linked with local industrial activity and that this technological knowledge turned out to be one of the key factors in the rise of Umbrian truffle commerce. From a cultural point of view, this article also illustrates the role of truffles in the gastronomic rivalry between France and Italy.

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