If you’re headed to Tuscany this autumn, go ahead and pat yourself in the back. In addition to less crowds, cooler weather and fun seasonal events – visiting during this time of year means you have access to something Italians (and well anyone really) cherish more than anything. Truffles and Porcini mushrooms, the ‘gold standard’ of local cuisine during this period, together with Alba in Piedmont, Tuscany is also quite famous for excellent truffles.
One of our favorite areas to discover them both is San Miniato in Tuscany, a strategic point since the Middle Ages – located between Florence and Pisa. This oozing with charm hill-top town is also well-known for hosting a famous ‘white truffle’ fair every November in the town center. This weekend and the two following ones ( 13 & 14, 20 & 21, 27 & 28 November) at San Miniato, the “white truffle” fair will occur. This time, the “feminine truffle” will be the center, discussing different edges on each instance. Woman chef cooking shows and meetings valuing outstanding women in the field of science, arts and culture will be the protagonists. streets are quaint and filled with tiny local shops, the layout has been largely remained intact since the Medieval period. Famous emperors that made their way here include Henry IV and Frederick II.
When it comes to truffles, the star of the show called Tuber magnatum pico (the valuable white variety). In addition to truffles and mushrooms, they also produce an excellent dessert wine, vin santo, using the white San Colombano grape variety.
For tips on navigating the open market to buy truffles, read this article, and this helpful read by Sensibus on interesting wine and truffle pairings once you’ve bought your tuber. Our thoughts are that of course buying them yourself is a great experience, but you want to make sure to do so with a little knowledge under your belt first
Truffle-hunting is quite popular in this area, but it is heavily regulated and done with care. Local hunters can take interested tourists to the areas where they typically hunt, and it is one of the most unique experiences that one can do in Italy. They must be authorized by the local government beforehand and in order to dig out the truffle that the specially trained dogs find, they use a small shovel called a “vanghetto”. After the adventure, an authentic lunch or dinner can be organised in a typical truffle hunter house where you can taste “ the food of the gods”! Regarding accommodation, why not stay in a near by villa like Villa Santa Virginia in Montaione!
Alternatively our villa in the Crete Senesi has its own private tartufaia. You can plan a weekly vacation and cook with your private chef different truffle recipe every day!
Truffle Calendar in Tuscany
Truffles grow spontaneously and naturally throughout the seasons in Tuscany in six areas: Mugello, San Miniato, Valtiberina, Crete Senesi, Casentino and Maremma Grossetana. The marzuolo (spring truffle) can be found between January and April; the summer black truffle (or scorzone) between June and November; and the prized white truffle from late September to December.