Tuscany By Air & Land Cooking Vacation: Hunting For Truffles
In Tuscany, the town of San Miniato is known for it's annual white truffle festival. But this isn't the only place to find the "diamond of the kitchen," according to Brillat-Savarin, an 18th-century gastronome. As you'll discover in our new cooking vacation "Tuscany By Air & Land," 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).
After the tubers are gathered, they're often processed and turned into oils and butters, as well as added to sauces, salamis, and pastas. In the case of our Pisa culinary vacation, the truffles will be an integral part of one of your lunch courses the day of your hunt.
Photo credit: Savini Tartufi
By Liz Hall