A truffle is a piece of fungus that grows entirely underground around the roots of a tree. It enjoys a symbiotic relationship with the tree; it receives the necessary chemicals from the tree while it transfers the nutrients it has taken from the soil to the tree. Both white and black truffles share the same appearance, that of a lumpy potato but they differ in taste and shelf-life. Each kind of truffle is firmly in the umami category of taste i.e. they are very earthy and do not need a lot of salt to trip your tastebuds.
Truffles are unique in their taste and are predominantly served uncooked (white truffles) or as a supplement to your meal.
The black truffle is far more common and it is available for six to nine months a year. It has a stronger taste and pungent aroma that often needs acquiring. Because of the long season and easier odds of being found, black truffles are more affordable.
Then we have white truffles, earth’s gold. They are typically valued at a high price and they inspire a big black market.
White truffles cannot be frozen and have a short shelf-life, up to about 10 days. They’re best devoured as soon as possible. Their season is short, only three-to-four months each year, September through to as late as January.
There are very little chances of locating these delicious delicacies without a trained hound, or “truffle hounds” as they are called. These hounds have been trained to follow the scent of these highly sought after food item.
Without a truffle hound, you’ll find yourself moving around without anything to show for it.
The White Alba Truffle
Alba, a small town in the Italian province of Cuneo, where the most exquisite and rare white truffle grows, hosts an annual truffle fair during the months of October and November.
During this fair, you can enjoy some of the best and freshest truffles the world has to offer, or just watch as they’re auctioned off at astronomical prices.
The fair combines local festivities, culture, food, and wine. The international Alba White Truffle fair is believed to be one of the best in all of Italy.
In the heart of culture-rich Milan, Baglioni Hotel Carlton’s luxurious suites offer private terrace views overlooking the fashionable Villa Della Spiga with access to unrivalled shopping and cultural attractions.
During a visit to this site in the winter months, guests experience the best of the region’s culinary delights during a truffle tasting class and a starry Dom Perignon dinner at La Ciau del Tornavento, where decadent courses include dishes of veal coated in burrata and hazelnut-infused truffle oil.
Le Richmond is a hotspot for artists and international dignitaries; it is the perfect choice for a weekend trip to explore Swiss black truffles in one of Europe’s most captivating cities.
During winter, the hotel offers a truffle-based menu at Le-Jardin, the property’s premier restaurant nestled between picturesque Brunswick Gardens and Lake Geneva.
Château de la Treyne in the Dordogne basin is the perfect home to experience an abundant, French truffle harvest. The property is home to a French-style-garden, offering nearly 400 acres of species and cedar rich forest.
Explore the vast oak trees, hornbeams and box trees of Causses du Quercy Natural Regional Park, the birthplace of the illustrious black diamond truffle.
After sourcing your own, visit the winter truffle market in Lalbenque to sample truffle-based delicacies produced in the region.
The medieval hill town of San Miniato
This is another very famous truffle market place in the Tuscany region. San Miniato’s truffle fair offers plenty of entertainment with great restaurants serving truffle dishes at very reasonable prices.
It is a great opportunity to explore Tuscan truffles, buy local products and try truffle hunting. The festival takes place on the second, third and fourth weekend in November.