White Truffles are More Than Enough Reason to Visit Italy in the Fall
October and November may be the low season in Italy, but it's also one of the best times to travel to the boot-shaped country. That's because it's the season of the white truffle, and truffle fairs abound where the tuber grows.
Where can White Truffles be Found?
While Piedmont, in particular Alba, is widely considered the place to visit if you fancy the white truffle, it isn't the only city in Italy to go on a truffle hunt or take a truffle cooking class.
A quarter of the white truffles actually come from Tuscany, where they host a number of Autumn fairs, including the popular San Miniato Truffle fair near Florence. This fair occurs in the medieval hillside town of San Miniato, which comes alive with entertainment, truffle dishes, and more when the fest opens for three weeks in November.
The city of Acqualagna, in the region of Le Marche, also considers themselves the "truffle capital" of Italy in large part, because they produce both black and white truffles year round. But October and November are the prime times for the white tubers here, which is evidenced by the National Truffle Fair that features hunts and of course dishes featuring the truffles too. If you really want to explore everything the truffle has to offer, consider immersing yourself into the world of truffles with our vacation "Culinary Traditions and Treasures of the Truffle," which takes place in Le Marche.
Over in Umbria, the town of Citta di Castello is another haven for white and black truffles alike. Discover the precious tubers during the town's annual fair, or go on a truffle hunt of your own — followed by a cooking class — with Matteo and his amazing dog Sole, who understands how to find truffles deep in the soil.
Truffles and Food
So why are white truffles so prized? It's not just for their deep, earthy flavor. It's something that can't be described, as its flavor is so unique and unlike anything else. The flavors from these gastronomical gems can be infused in everything from butter to salt and oil. But that only dilutes their flavor.
Fresh truffles are best used with simple dishes like pasta or risotto, and only a little need to be shaved over a dish. This is not only due to the cost of the truffles — as it's not unheard of them to be at least $1,000 per pound — but because their flavor is just that wonderfully strong.
By Liz Hall