Thursday, October 27, 2011

Truffle Hunting in the Tuscan Forest

It's white truffle season and that means a good excuse to enjoy one of my favorite flavors - the truffle! I had the unique opportunity to do
some truffle hunting while on vacation this summer in Florence, Italy. The experience consisted of us hunting the truffles with a registered truffle hunter and his dog, then enjoying a delicious meal prepared with the day's find.

Giulio the Truffle Hunter picked us up at the train station and took us to his house called Limonaia in Bagno Rapoli, a town about 15 minutes outside of Florence. He used to run a B&B out of the house, so it is beautifully furnished. Giulio is now a registered truffle hunter and organizes truffle hunts and wine tastings with his wife, Christina.

He and his dog, Etta, comb the Tuscan forest every morning searching for earthy wonderful truffles. Black truffles were in season while we were there. So, we started off the experience learning a little about truffle hunting, then we hit the woods. Etta led, followed by Giulio with a tool used to unearth the truffles, then my husband and me. Etta would sniff the ground, then when she determined there was nothing there, would go back to Giulio for one of the treats he keeps in his pocket. Eventually, she found a spot she really liked and started frantically digging. Guilio called her off and searched in the spot she was digging and found an 80 gram truffle! Ray and I were floored. It was one of the biggest truffles we’ve ever seen. Guilio said it was about 4 days old. We continued our walk and found two other truffles for a total of about 150 grams,

or about 1/3 lb. Guilio said Etta loves eating truffles which is why he has to call her off when she starts digging. He said sometimes he’ll be digging one out of the ground, and she’ll find another one nearby and eat it before he can get to it!

Once we were done hunting we went back to Limonaia where he taught us how to clean the truffles while his wife Christina prepared a 5 course meal for us using the truffles we found just hours earlier. The food was typically Tuscan – fresh, local, simple and utterly delicious. All of the dishes had fresh truffles shaved on top. My favorite was a white bean soup with homemade croutons and fresh truffles. We took some truffle oil home with us and remember our Italian adventure every time we drizzle it.

posted by Jennifer Adams Design Group Blog @ 5:00 AM 

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