Truffles are one of the most expensive of ingredients, ranging anywhere from a couple hundred to thousands of dollars. (Yes, you read that right: thousands). The prized tubers add a distinct flavor to a dish, and fortunately — for your pocket book — it doesn’t take much to add that flavor. A small shaving or two, or infused into oil, can change the whole composition of a dish.
There’s an art form to cooking with truffles (as well as to pairing them with wine), and it starts long before you reach the kitchen. In fact time and time again, travelers return from one of our cooking vacations and say one of their favorite excursions was a truffle hunt… in part because they didn’t realize how much fun it would be.
That’s one reason we’re excited to offer a whole new truffle itinerary in the truffle country of France, the Dordogne. But that’s not the only place where you’ll find this pricey tuber on your plate. Keep reading to see where you can learn all about finding and cooking with truffles.
Culinary Tours Featuring Truffles
While the Dordogne — a picturesque and beautiful region in the southwest of France — has all sorts of seasonal produce throughout the year, one of the best times of year to visit is the Winter. That’s when the coveted black truffle is harvested. During our 5-night itinerary, learn to cook all sorts of regional specialties, as well as visit the local truffle museum, and a cooking class dedicated to turning this strange mushroom into a delicacy.
Over in Italy, Umbria is just one of the many regions where you can find truffles. And the area around Norcia is regaled for its food in general, with a plethora of lentils, sausages, and cheese — in addition to black truffles. During the 4 or 6 night itinerary, go on a hunt for black truffles with the help of an eager dog. (Read more about truffle hunting here).
As a past guest has said, “As for the excursions, the truffle hunting was by far everyone’s favorite. Nicolai, with Lulu & Nina — the dogs — did a great job allowing us to follow them around.”
Truffles are so important to the gastronomy of Italy that La Cucina Romana in the Sabine Hills also has dedicated a whole week to them! The special week — only November 13-19 — features a truffle hunt, lessons on how to tell the differences between truffles (and not just the coloring!), as well as how to cook with them in all their forms, from truffle paste to truffle oil. Situated just 30 minutes outside of Rome, it’s also an easy location to get to.
Another region in Italy known for its truffles: Piedmont. It’s also a perfect place for wine aficionados. You’ll stay in a charming family-owned B&B property in the area of the French-influenced Langhe, a great base as you discover the countryside. One highlight, of many, during this trip is a tour of the Grinzane Cavour Castle, where the wines are selected by the masters of the Order of the Knights of the Truffle and Wines of Alba.
Need help picking your next culinary vacation adventure? Contact us anytime.
By Liz Hall
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