Truffles in Tuscany

Truffles - God’s gift to gourmets

  Ever wondered why the world goes wild over the taste of truffle? It is because it has a Eating at tablehaunting taste, is expensive and cannot readily be found all year round. Tuscany is the home of Truffles so what better treat than to find some yourself  as a pastime when you stay at villas for rent in Tuscany  The area around La Collina del Sole is bursting with black truffles, one of the favourite restaurants of the guests at Lucca Villa Rental serve truffles as though they were as easy to find as walnuts, this is because the cooks father in law and his dog find a plentiful supply of black truffles in the area of villa rentals in Tuscany the best way to enjoy their full flavour is to savour the capellini  [angel hair pasta] with truffles shaved on top at the Casa del Pescatore. When you rent a villa in Tuscany in the area of the Tuscan-Emilian Appennines  you can request to experience truffle hunting which is no longer done with sows but with trained dogs, you need to enjoy this at the a special time of year at the Holiday villas in Lucca as it is only allowed between September and December, when you accompany the hunters using a tool shaped like a small spade to go truffle treasure Black Trufflehunting, the areas in which truffles grow, especially black truffles, can be identified due to the lack of grass.  Nowadays there are approximately under 2000 registered truffle hunters and 9 truffle associations in Tuscany. They hope to institute a “garanzia di origine” or guarantee of origin for Tuscan truffles.  Truffle areas exposed towards south generally grow earlier, followed by the ones exposed to east and west and finally by the ones exposed to north.. The truffle with its strong and pleasant smell, can vary in shape and can weigh over 1 kg. It costs more or less €2200 euro per kilo but can reach €5000 per kilo or €200 per kilo depending on its type white or black and size. If you would rather buy in bulk rather than spend hours rambling in a truffle treasure hunt then you could join the  “International Tuscan truffle auction” held in the Medici Castle in Cafaggiolo, north of Florence towards Bologna, where the most prestigious truffles are found. The strong aroma is best enjoyed when shaved over warm pasta and butter, on a simple risotto, polenta  or over scrambled or poached eggs.Food Bonini  Polenta(21) Truffles are found, not grown, and not transplanted. In an age where tomatoes, strawberries and mangoes are perpetually in season, this is the one food that cannot be  grown in a greenhouse. Although there is no sign of flagging demand, there has been a steady decline in the truffles to be found,  the weather has changed the autumn in Tuscany is getting warmer and this is not good for truffles and accounts for much of the decline. In addition, over the last 20 years, many trees in the area have been cut down to plant vineyards, so the traditional places where hunters looked for truffles are limited. “What is it that makes the truffle so special? It is the relationship between whatever is in the earth and the roots of a tree. Until you have smelt the real thing, you don’t know what to look for and the more you are exposed to it, the more critical you become.” A culinary conundrum! How about the latest addition to the “truffle recipes” of the world, we recently read Miranda Bryant’s article on “A fish pie billed as “the world’s most expensive ready meal” went on sale today for more than £300" on the 4th of December 2013.  The dish - which contains white alba truffle and is sprinkled with 24ct gold crumbs - comes hand delivered by a security guard on a gilded tray in an aluminium case the hands of a secuFunghi by Alina  (6)rity guard will be handcuffed to the meal until it’s been delivered to the correct person. Other ingredients include Balik salmon, Cornish lobster tail, salted oysters, wild turbot and lobster poached in vintage Dom Perignon 2003. It comes accompanied by an amuse bouche of Beluga caviar in two mother of pearl spoons. Even the potato mash is made special Yukon Gold Heritage potatoes to make the meal taste extra special and the salt comes from the Piran salt plains of Slovenia, the Olive Oil from El Mil Del Poaig with Montgomery Cheddar, Pecorino cheese and peppercorns. The chef said the meal was created to give people the opportunity to try multiple exclusive ingredients in one go and expects it to appeal to the wealthy and “curious”. Well if you are curious forget the handcuffed pie and join the most fabulous experience you will ever have in the late autumn truffle treasure hunting experience at La Collina del Sole and you will have the added satisfaction of having worked out and found your own truly tantalizingly tasty truffle … LCDS Sunset pool square image