Truffle Hunting Season Is Open In Italy
Italy attracts travellers from the world over with its breathtaking architecture, scenic countryside and soul-stirring food. The lush countryside is, in fact, a hidden crown that houses many a jewel when it comes to bountiful produce. Truffles are chief among them.
We take you on an interesting culinary experience across the rich, rolling hills of the magnificent country where you get up close and personal with the ‘black diamonds’.
But First, Some Truffle History
Did you know that truffles are actually fruits but are found in nature like fungus? You can collect them below trees and foliage, not on them. The experts will tell you that the roots of oak, beech, birch, hazel, pine, and poplar are the hotspots for the expensive fruit, and these trees offer an ideal hunting ground for you. The reason why truffles count among the most expensive produce in the world is because it is hard to spot them on the roots even after you have identified the correct tree.
Another interesting bit about truffles is that pigs and dogs are the best hunters when it comes to sniffing the fruit out. While the latter has been trained, the former seeks out the treat because the aroma is similar to pheromones produced in female pigs.
The fruit was considered divine by ancient western cultures that believed truffles were produced as a result of lighting hurled down by the Gods.
Europe, and particularly Italy, became the popular spot for truffle hunting when the King of France and other noblemen across the continent imported the produce to add flavour and delicacy to their food. In the digital millennium, chefs are pretty much replicating the same act by adding the treasured food to heighten the gastronomical experiment of their patrons.
Let’s Begin The Truffle Hunt
The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that truffles are fruits blessed by the Gods, and Italy has been blessed by the Gods when it comes to regions where you can find truffles. The time has come to pack your spades and forks and go hunting for the rich, exquisite and aristocratic food. We take you on a journey across five distinct locations where you can come away with the ‘edible gold’:
- Full Day Truffle Excursion in San Miniato
Known as heaven for truffle seekers, San Miniato is perhaps the perfect place to experience the treasured fruit in all its glory. The Savini Family act as your personal guides, first informing you about the interesting history behind the produce, and then taking you out on the hunt in the company of trained dogs. The highlight of the day is the lunch where not only will you be served the delicacy, but you will also be able to include some of the truffles you have found on the hunt. The excursion ends at the mesmerising Tenuta di Poggio wine estate where you will learn how grapes are transformed into delicious wine.
- Truffle Hunt in Crete Senesi
It speaks volumes of Tuscany’s natural bounty that you have another town in the region that is blessed with white truffles. Crete Senesi attracts food lovers from all over the globe with its festival that taken place in November. We take you across the stalls that are laden with the precious fruit, infusing everyone and everything with their rich aroma. The highlight of the day-long tour includes exploring the town’s secret spots in the company of a local trifolaio and his trained dog. You will experience first-hand how the fruit is spotted and picked, and with some luck, you will also spot truffles on your own. Having worked up an appetite during the hunt, you are then treated to a mouth-watering spread of local dishes garnished with the divine fruit at the Osteria delle Crete. The day ends with a guided tour of the medieval town that overlooks the truffle country.
- The Half Day Hunt in Le Marche
Nestled between the scenic Apennine Mountains and the awe-inspiring Adriatic coastline, Le Marche is proof that Italy is well and truly blessed when it comes to the ‘edible gold’. The half day excursion starts off in a private estate located outside Ascoli Piceno. The woods of the estate are a fertile ground for fungus to grow all year around, providing an ideal hunting ground to locate truffles. You will be accompanied by a local expert and their trained dog. Lunch will be served at the estate, garnished with your hunting produce.
- Wine and Truffles Treat in Langhe
The Piedmont region is another hotspot for truffle enthusiasts, having developed a global reputation for the famous tartufi bianchi or white truffles. You will spend an entire morning foraging for the prized delicacy with a local expert assisted by their trained dog. The location: the serene hills of Monferrato. The hunt is followed by a lunch in the renowned Alba, famous for its truffle festival that occurs between October and November. Once you have had your fill of the prized delicacy, you are then whisked away to an estate that produces the celebrated Barbaresco red wine. Here you can welcome the sunset, sipping on some vintage wines.
- The Barolo ‘King of Wines, Wine of Kings’ Tour
There is perhaps no better place to end the truffle tour than at Barolo. The day begins at Grinzane Cavour, host to the 10th century Falletti di Barolo that has a historic link to the unification of the country, not to mention producing some of the most delicious wines. After sampling the premium stock, you head to La Morra, a village renowned for Piedmont cuisine. The good times keep rolling with a visit to another winery after lunch. After having learned of some of the treasured secrets related to wine making, you end the day with, you guessed it, truffles. The historic center of Alba is the heart of Piedmont’s truffle scene and it plays generous host to your taste buds.
Partake In An Italian Tradition
Truffle hunting is as Italian a tradition as they come, and the regions of Tuscany, Piedmont and Le Marche offer pristine venues for the intrepid explorer and seeker of new experiences. The ‘black diamond’ delicacy has graced the kitchens of some of the top restaurants in the world and regularly features on the menus curated by the most sought after chefs. Made In Uvet offers you a rare opportunity to collect, taste, and indulge in the prized Italian delicacy.