The Famous Truffle Hunt
The appeal of truffles is indisputable. These mysterious fungi are as elusive as they are captivating, the most precious hunted in the foggy mornings of autumn and winter. There is something undeniably seductive and exotic about the truffle, and for many centuries – and even today- it was attributed aphrodisiac qualities. In the highest of social circles, truffles were highly coveted and consumed to enhance the amorous experience.
We know that the Ancient Greeks and Romans used them for therapeutic purposes, believing that they gave eternal health to the body and soul. Truffles were also seen as has having exotic qualities in their aroma and flavour making them more popular among the noble classes.
This subterranean mushroom is found within the living roots of oak, chestnut, hazel and beech trees. The word truffle comes from the Latin word “tuber”, which means outgrowth.
The white (and most precious) truffle, more than any other food, has created such strength of emotion that has and continues to be the object of study. It has even been known to make grown men cry. Indeed, Gioacchino Rossini, the famous composer admitted: “I have cried three times in my life; once when my first opera failed, once the first time I heard Paganini play the violin and once when a truffled turkey fell overboard at a boating picnic”.
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Put on a good pair of walking shoes and head out with one of the area’s illustrious ‘Tartufai’ or truffle-hunters, his dogs and your multilingual gastronomy guide to go truffle-hunting at a secluded location in the forest. Depending on the amount of rain, humidity and the season, see how the truffle-hunter’s rigorously trained dogs smell out the truffles and how the hunters themselves then extract them from the ground. In the autumn and winter you will be hunting the famous, revered and very costly ‘Tartufo Bianco’ or White Truffle.
In the spring the ‘Marzuolo’ or ‘Bianchetto’ and in the summer months the ‘Tartufo Scorzone’ or Black Summer Truffle. You will learn about the mysteries of truffle growth, their terrain, their reproduction processes and how the truffle dogs are trained.
As Mother Nature is queen here, there is no guarantee you will find truffles at all and you may return empty handed. Cross your fingers and hope that the earth decides to be generous on that day. The fun is in learning about how unique and mysterious nature is and in the hunt itself.
Any truffles found remain the property of the ‘Tartufaio’.
This experience takes approximately two hours.
Transport not included.