One of my favorite hidden treasures of Italy is the truffle. I seem to find treasures in food and the experience it has to all senses so thought it would be so interesting to share a few of the many Truffle festivals that take place in Tuscany, and hopefully, post pandemic, will once again allow us to enjoy this delicacy.
Truffles are found underground, near the root of tree and give off a very pungent odor which is why both dogs and pigs are used to “hunt” them. Truffles are harvested, generally between September – December and festivals mostly fall in line with the harvest season.
If you would like to plan a trip to Tuscany, and want to enjoy the festivals, here are few to start.
San Miniato Truffle Festival is generally the last few weeks of November. Here the town hosts market stalls through the squares and offer wide variety of tasting opportunities. While you are there, you can try the tradition recipes of the white truffle. The town itself is lovely, and the landscape make it a prime environment for the truffle. In fact, the world’s largest truffle was found in San Miniato
San Giovanni d’asso Truffle Festival is hosted in late spring as they harvest their truffles in December, and while they are not the luxurious white truffles, they are just as delicious. If you go, you can taste the various dishes, and purchase truffles. If you do purchase a truffle, there is a time limit on how long they will last, so you could ask a local to prepare your truffle for you.
Volterra Truffle Festival offers an experiences to taste white truffles in wonderful recipes along with enjoy other gifts of the area, including wine, cheese and oils.
While each festival may seem similar, it is best to explore each one, and see if you have a favorite. Go and find a favorite recipe, take in the beauty of the region and the people. Taste, touch, see and feel the truffles and hear all sounds of people who are creating wonderful dishes and treats.
Maybe after you visit a festival, on your next visit to Tuscany, you can plan time on a truffle farm and join in the hunt for the fabulous truffle. And food for thought, there is a specific dog breed that is recognized as a truffle hunter. The Lagatto Romagnalo dog is trained to point at the truffle so it can be gently removed with little damage to the ecosystem. You may want to go truffle hunting just to be in the presence of this adorable dog.
Contributor Karen Titus
Karen recently retired from Delta Air Lines and has always enjoyed traveling the globe, with special love and interest for Italy as it was her first trip to Europe.For more information about Karen, please visit: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karen-titus-22b4a1b/