Nothing says culinary luxury like a truffle. Black, white, summer or burgundy, some haute cuisine addicts will go to extraordinary lengths to sample these aromatic delights. They’re not easy to find, but that only adds to their value: these highly-prized fungi are ‘ectomycorrhizal’, which means they grow close to the roots of certain trees. Specially trained pigs or dogs can be used to locate truffles in open ground, while others are cultivated in specific groves.
Italy is one of the best places in the world for truffles, whether you want to savour them at a restaurant or hunt and cook them yourself. Take a look at our tips on tracking down your much-needed truffle fix in Piedmont or Tuscany:
The ideal destination for truffle hunters, the city of Alba and the regions of Montferrat and Langhe in particular are a gastronome’s dream, home to wonderful vineyards, hazelnuts and cheeses as well as truffles.
Go for a decadent meal out at La Libera, an unassuming osteria that incorporates local white truffles into almost everything during the season – we’d recommend the spinach and egg yolk ravioli. If you can wait until late autumn, you’ll catch the Alba Truffle Fair, an annual celebration of the elusive white truffle. After a day of indulgence, head back to the beautiful Villa Piemonte to relax in front of sweeping views over the Montferrato hills.
If you have a scavenging spirit and want to try out hunting for truffles yourself, Tuscany has an impressive selection of designated tours. Truffle Hunter operates several different walking tours, including one particularly luxurious day that lets you enjoy the fruits of your labour with a nice Chianti afterwards. There’s no shortage of fancy truffle recipes, but try the delicate simplicity of tajarin: egg ribbon pasta with butter and truffles.
Those who prefer letting someone else do the hard work should head to the Osteria Le Logge in Siena. Sit on the ground floor of the restaurant to really soak up the atmosphere and prepare to be amazed by the culinary brilliance. You won’t want to travel far after a meal like that, but fortunately one of our most beautiful luxury villas in Tuscany happens to be just ten minutes away: Villa Cecamore, the perfect base for all your truffle-hunting travels.
For more foodie travel inspiration check our other Yummy Food articles.Photo credit: Image via cumidanciki on Flickr. Image has been edited.