I am a truffle devotee, which has seen me go to tastings, read truffle recipe books back-to-back and watch documentaries on the subject; whilst also lusting to go hunting for these fantastic fungi.
Though I visited Tuscany in July I was keen to at least have a go at truffle hunting, even though the season was for lighter tasting Summer Truffles.
After a bit of an online search, I found Catoggio Tartufi who take visitors on truffle hunting experiences and so off we headed.
In Italy truffle hunting with pigs is illegal, unlike in France, as the dogs are trained to only dig the truffles that are ready. While pigs will dig those that still aren’t and thus ruin the spores.
We spent an hour walking in the woods with our dogs and guides, watching the dogs get excited as they found our ‘prey’ and then racing to grab them before the dogs swallowed them up. After we had found our ‘black gold’ we then covered the hole again with soil to protect any spores from UV light.
Mirco, one of our guides, taught us that in Tuscany they say there are 3 Cs needed for truffle hunting: Constanza (time/patience), Cane (dogs) and Coolo (fortune/luck).
Summer truffles have the beautiful pungency of other truffles, but the taste is much lighter. We enjoyed our find (around 60-70g in total) by shaving them onto olive oil-soaked bread for a luxurious farm breakfast, before taking the rest back home to enjoy for dinner (shaved onto wafer thin roast beef).
One of the funnest foodie experiences I have ever had, and something that has spurred me on even more to try autumn & winter truffle hunting seasons!
Who we went with: Catoggio Tartufi
Where we stayed: Podere Celli