MARCELLO Distefano, the managing director of San Carlo Group, is a man and he likes food.
Normally we fly truffles into Manchester complete with armed guards and a company of cavalry at least
Ruby is a dog and she likes food too.
So when Marcello met Ruby they both knew it was going to work out. But who knew it would work out so spectacularly well. And in Manchester.
Earlier this week Marcello was taking Ruby, a vizsla pooch, a Hungarian hunting breed, for a walk in Parsonage Gardens. The gardens are a short step from two of his restaurants, Cicchetti and San Carlo. Suddenly Ruby became agitated so Marcello allowed the dog to lead him to a tree in the gardens.
Ruby started to dig. Within moments the clever vizsla had unearthed a fine black truffle. This is believed to be worth £300-£400.
Black truffles are always associated with trees and usually associated with southern Europe. Their rich flavours and pungency make them highly prized and sought after by chefs and restaurants. To find one in northern Europe, let alone a city centre park, is unheard of and at Confidential we should know. We spend most of the marketing budget each year hunting for truffles in places as far apart as Rochdale, Bury and Kneesden.
"I couldn't believe it," said Marcello to Confidential. "Normally we fly truffles into Manchester complete with armed guards and a company of cavalry at least. Then, wow, I find one more or less on my doorstep. It's astonishing. I can't wait to start grating this baby over some proper al dente pasta."
Manchester City Council has appealed to Mancunians not to start digging up parks and gardens in the hope of making equally valuable finds. "Only those people who have a fully trained dog or a wise pig should attempt to go truffle-hunting and they will require a licence," said a man in the Town Hall. "Licence applications normally take four to six weeks and are very like taxi licences because all we've really done is scrubbed out the 'axi' of taxi and added 'ruffles' to spell truffles. Cheaper that way."
The truffle find by Marcello and Ruby follows on from the caviar discovered in the returning Beluga sturgeon of the River Irwell and the gold unearthed in the hills above Marple.
"We want to make some really special dishes with this extremely rare Manchester truffle," said Marcello rewarding Ruby with a pat on the head.
Confidential is excited to announce the dishes San Carlo food lovers may expect:
Truffle egg broth aux bugger oeuf
Truffle muffled and snuffled, gnarled and scarred
Spicy truffle donor kebabs
Superficial truffle wannabees with flim and flam
Truffle oil parcels doused and soused in truffle oil
Truffle trifle tiers
Furious scorched truffle mints
'Surprise, surprise!' The truffle dish with no truffle