A TRUFFLE BY ANY OTHER NAME
One of the most interesting things we did when we stayed at Bill and Suzy's villa a few weeks ago was hunt for truffles - called tartufi here in Italy. Click on the link to read about truffles, but basically they're fungi. Unlike mushrooms, truffles grow underground, on the roots of trees, so they're not easy to find.
Because of their sensitive noses (and their love of truffles) pigs were originally used to find truffles, but the problem was keeping the pigs from eating them! Now dogs are used, so we met up with our truffle dog, Asha and her owner one morning in this private, fenced and locked area loaded (theoretically) with truffles.
The dry weather this fall has greatly reduced the mushrooms and truffles in our area, but luckily Asha was able to sniff out ten or so truffles to impress us. The truffles we found, the black ones, are called summer truffles and aren't nearly as expensive as the white truffles...."the precious ones" as our guide Claudia called them.
After the hunt we headed to TARTUFI BIANCONI, a truffle shop/distributor located just outside of Citta di Castello. Gariella and her husband Saverio process and package both types of truffles in more ways than I ever dreamed possible...truffle polenta, truffle mashed potatoes, jarred truffles, frozen truffles, truffle oil....and more. Saverio loves everything truffle so he also has a small truffle museum inside his house.
If you're interested hunting for truffles, or if you'd just prefer to let someone else do the hunting so you can buy some of these yummy delicacies for yourself, check out TARTUFI BIANCONI for yourself!