Tuscany Cooking Vacation: Hunting For Truffles

Pile of truffles on a cooking vacationIn Tuscany, the town of San Miniato is known for it’s annual white truffle festival. But this isn’t the only place to find what was called the “diamond of the kitchen” by Brillat-Savarin, an 18th-century gastronome. The delicious tuber known as the truffle is also found in the hills of Pisa, often growing in the soil beneath poplar, hazel, oak, and beech trees.

Savini Tartufi, run by the Savini family for generations, harvests five different kinds of truffles year-round in areas around Pisa, Florence, and Siena with the help of some wonderfully trained dogs. During a special truffle hunt, walk through the woods with them and watch the dogs sniff out and dig for fresh truffles, black in the winter and summer as well as white in the spring. Savini Tatufi is even on record as discovering the biggest truffle ever, a whopping 1.497 kg (about 3.3 pounds).

Learn about pairing truffles with wine.

Traditional pasta with mushrooms and truffle on an Italy culinary tourAfter the tubers are gathered, they’re often processed and turned into oils and butters, as well as added to sauces, salamis, and pastas. They add that amazing and world-renowned flavor to a variety of dishes of all types, from pastas to meats to cheeses.

Truffle and wine pairing on culinary tour to PiedmontWe can design a custom tour for you to participate in a truffle hunt with the Savini family and their dogs. Just contact us to get started! Or, try one of our other truffle-themed cooking vacations such as A Food Lover’s Paradise in Norcia or our Authentic Experience in Piedmont or Bountiful Piedmont culinary vacations, which can also include truffles on request.

By Liz SanFilippo Hall

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Originally published March 21, 2013.

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