“You’ll have to have them all pulled out…

…after the Savoy Truffle.”

Above: this 26-ounce truffle fetched a whopping $208,000.

George Harrison’s song “Savoy Truffle” has nothing to do with Piedmont truffles. In fact, it was inspired by a box of chocolates:

“Savoy Truffle is a funny one written whilst hanging out with Eric Clapton in the sixties,” wrote Harrison. “At that time he had a lot of cavities in his teeth and needed dental work. He always had a toothache but he ate a lot of chocolates—he couldn’t resist them and once he saw a box he had to eat them all.”

“He was over at my house and I had a box of ‘Good News’ chocolates on the table and wrote the song from the names inside the lid…” (Harrison, George, I, Me, Mine, San Francisco, Chronicle, 2002 [1980], p. 128)

The “Savoy” in the Good News chocolates box probably referred to the famous Savoy Hotel and Restaurant in London, where celebrity chef Auguste Escoffier began cooking in the late nineteenth century. The hotel and restaurant get their name from the Savoy theater, which in turn took its name from the nearby Palace of Savoy, built by Peter Earl of Savoy in the thirteenth century. Since the middle ages, the House of Savoy has been closely linked to Piedmont (where white truffles are hunted) and in the early eighteenth century, nearly all of the region came under control of the House of Savoy. In 1861, Victor Emmanuel II of Savoy became Italy’s first king.

Though George calls the song — based on an affectionate anecdote — “a funny one,” the colorful chocolate-inspired lyrics of “Savoy Truffle” also address the issues of excess and over-indulgence in modern-day society. After all, the singer reminds us, “You’ll have to have them all pulled out after the Savoy Truffle.”

This year’s truffle season in Piedmont hasn’t been great and I’ve heard that many NYC restaurateurs have had to discard their truffles after the tubers arrived in bad shape. I had some white truffles at a Piedmont-themed dinner where I spoke at the end of October. They were pretty good but not phenomenal. Frankly, white truffles never seem to taste the same outside of Piedmont. I wonder how the lucky owners of the above truffle — a group of Hong Kong businessmen — will serve it.

When my friend Steve sent me the link to the story above about the 26-ounce truffle, I thought to myself, “does anyone really need a truffle that big?”

Me? I’d rather keep my teeth.

Above: an early draft of George Harrison’s lyrics for “Savoy Truffle.”

Creme tangerine and Montélimar
A ginger sling with a pineapple heart
A coffee dessert–yes you know it’s good news
But you’ll have to have them all pulled out
After the Savoy truffle.

Cool cherry cream, nice apple tart
I feel your taste all the time we’re apart
Coconut fudge–really blows down those blues
But you’ll have to have them all pulled out
After the Savoy truffle.

You might not feel it now
But when the pain cuts through
You’re gonna know and how
The sweat is going to fill your head
When it becomes too much
You’ll shout aloud.

But you’ll have to have them all pulled out
After the Savoy truffle.

You know that what you eat you are,
But what is sweet now, turns so sour–
We all know Obla-Di-Bla-Da
But can you show me, where you are?

Creme tangerine and Montélimar
A ginger sling with a pineapple heart
A coffee dessert–yes you know its good news
But you’ll have to have them all pulled out
After the Savoy truffle.
Yes, you’ll have to have them all pulled out
After the Savoy truffle.

– “Savoy Truffle,” George Harrison

One thought on ““You’ll have to have them all pulled out…

  1. Now that’s a post after me oulde heart. It’s been just about 39 years ago this time since the White Album was released…ah, Orkney Road in Brookline, I remember ye well.

    BTW, JP, io sono appena rientrato, facciamoci vivi presto per un bel bicchiere.

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