Click on the link to watch the video!!!! I am very lucky in that my passion for BBQ has allowed me to be able to travel to many places and see the world. Although I have tons more places on my bucket list, Italy has long been my favorite destination, and I go there as often as possible. My daughter, Lauren is studying in Florence this semester, so what better excuse than to go to Italy than to see your Daughter! I recently went and we scheduled an outing for truffle hunting in Tuscany, and it was an amazing time!
There are several types of truffles. The chocolate version usually mentioned is so named because they resemble the truffle. Real truffles are members of the fungi family (similar to mushrooms) but are much more flavorful and aromatic. Of these, white truffles are the most prized. They are usually harvested in the fall in the Piedmont region of Italy. Black truffles can be larger, not as aromatic but still delicious. If you are not familiar with truffles, I highly encourage you to get acquainted! They are amazing!
Alba, Italy has a truffle festival in October and November every year, celebrating the white truffle. It is definitely on my bucket list!
Truffle hunting was traditionally done with trained pigs. However, dogs are much faster! Truffle hunters train the dogs to hone in on the scent, then they dig them up. Generally, truffles are not very deeply buried. On this hunt, we used one experienced dog and one 5 month old that was in training. Chloe, the young dog, was absolutely the cutest thing ever! We had as much fun with the dogs as we did when we found truffles.
What type of food for truffles
Truffles are generally not used for cooking, but are shaved thinly over dishes. Traditional uses are to shave them over eggs or pasta, but cheeses, oils and other items are also made with them. Generally speaking the “truffle oil” you can buy at the supermarket is made with artificial truffle flavor. As the flavor is very dependent upon the aroma, and is quite delicate, simply prepared dishes shine with a shaving of truffles on them; while more complicated dishes may obscure the fine flavors that truffles bring to the table.
Anyway, if you’re traveling to Italy, definitely put a truffle hunting excursion on your list (or at least eat some of the wonderful truffle dishes!)