TRUFFLE HUNTING IN ITALY
In the rolling hills of Emilia Romagna just south of Bologna, there is a beautiful landscape of undulating hills, woodlands and green pastures. In recent years, truffle hunting has become the dominant activity here. Demand for the ‘diamond of the kitchen’, as the white truffle is sometimes known, is growing exponentially. Restaurants in New York, Moscow, Shanghai and Sydney, compete to acquire the finest truffles for use in a huge array of recipes. In late 2018, the price for a kilo (about 2lbs) of white truffle exceeded Euros € 2000–. The hills of Emilia Romagna are a gold mine…
Truffles are called tartufi in Italian. They are the prize of the kitchen in the autumn months. The amazing and delightful thing about truffles is that they grow naturally in woodland areas. Truffles tend to develop close to tree roots, especially the roots of oak trees. In the old days, local people used pigs to sniff out the truffles using their keen sense of smell. Rather unfortunately, the pigs developed a taste for the aromatic and pungent truffles, and it became difficult for the hunters to snatch these precious culinary jewels from the jaws of the porcine foragers. The hunters switched to dogs to find the truffles. Dogs have an excellent sense of smell and a much more consistent ability to follow instructions.
Why not treat yourself to a truffle hunting adventure:
- Meet the truffle hunters and their dogs.
- Tour a truffle processing company, where truffles are collected, sorted, prepared, cleaned and packaged for export all over the world.
- Experience an authentic Parmesan Cheese Maker’s studio in the heart of Emilia Romagna.
- Visit a Medieval Castle and experience great Italian cuisine in a historic setting.
- Enjoy a wine tasting of fine red and white wines and a cellar tour.
The Grand Tourist truffle hunting experience includes:
- 3 nights in a very comfortable country house hotel.
- Spacious double or twin rooms, some suites available.
- Buffet style breakfast each morning.
- A Half-day truffle hunting excursion with a local truffle hunter and his dogs. This will be a walk and scramble through woods and fields. Walking boots, anoraks, hats, required.
- Lunch at a local trattoria (informal restaurant) with local dishes, truffles and freshly made pasta.
- Visit to a Parmesan Cheese Maker to see the world famous ‘parmigiano’ being made ‘by hand’.
- See the fabrication process and visit the warehouse where the cheeses are aged for 3-5-7 years before being sold all over the world.
- Dinner at the hotel including truffle dishes and truffle-flavoured sauces.
- A trip to an ancient castle to visit the wine cellars and sample the wines of Emilia Romagna.
- Visit a Balsamic Vinegar maker and learn about the making of ‘balsamico’. See the spectacular oak barrels used for aging the vinegar too.
- Time to relax and enjoy cocktails, spa treatments and delicious food at the hotel.
- We are very close to the Ferrari Museum and Factory in Maranello, so a couple of hours driving a Ferrari (road or circuit) is possible (at an additional cost).
- Comfortable Vehicles will pick you up from Bologna Airport and drive you into the countryside.
- All trips and visits will include Mercedes Viano people carriers and Mercedes Saloon Cars.
- An English and Italian speaking guide / co-ordinator will assist and organise all activities.
The cost of this trip – starts at:
- Euros € 2000– per person / GBP £ 1800 pp in a shared double room.
- Euros € 2500– per person / GBP £ 2300 pp in a Junior suite.
- These prices are based on 4 persons travelling.
- Larger groups can easily be accommodated.
- The white truffle ‘tartufo bianco’ and the ‘tartufo bianchetto’ are tubers, related to funghi, they grow symbiotically close to the roots of oak, hazel and beech trees. In fact any mixed woodland in Northern Italy, with well-drained soil that is alkaline, is likely to produce some truffles.
- The tubers develop and grow during the summer months. By late September or early October local truffle hunters come into the woods, usually at daybreak, when the air is still and calm. This is the time when the dogs are most likely to pick up the distinctive smell of the truffles. The truffle hunting season continues until the end of November.
The Educated Traveller blog has numerous articles about Italy, The Alps and Beyond. www.educated-traveller.com
- ‘I must tell you how impressed I was with every step of the planning process. All of our arrangements were clear, the hotels were all perfect.’ Jim Link, Atlanta, GA – June 2016
- ‘Incredible attention to detail, what a wonderful experience, the perfect blend of learning, eating and enjoying Italy.’ Debbie Davies (Southport)