Truffle Hunting in the Tuscan Forest

For my birthday, Ray set up a Truffle hunting experience for us while we were in Florence on our recent vacation. Giulio the Truffle Hunter picked us up at the train station and took us to his house called Limonaia in Bagno Rapoli, a town about 15 minutes outside of Florence. He used to run a B&B out of the house, so it is beautifully furnished. Giulio is now a registered Truffle Hunter and organizes truffle hunts and wine tastings with his wife, Christina.

He and his dog, Etta, comb the Tuscan forest every morning searching for earthy wonderful truffles. Black truffles were in season while we were there. So, we started off the experience learning a little about truffle hunting, then we hit the woods. Etta led, followed by Giulio with a tool used to unearth the truffles, then Ray and me. Etta would sniff the ground, then when she determined there was nothing there, would go back to Giulio for one of the treats he keeps in his pocket. Eventually, she found a spot she really liked and started frantically digging. Guilio called her off and searched in the spot she was digging and found an 80 gram truffle! Ray and I were floored. It was one of the biggest truffles we’ve ever seen. Guilio said it was about 4 days old. We continued our walk and found two other truffles for a total of about 150 grams, or about 1/3 lb. Guilio said Etta loves eating truffles which is why he has to call her off when she starts digging. He said sometimes he’ll be digging one out of the ground, and she’ll find another one nearby and eat it before he can get to it!

Once we were done hunting, we went back to Limonaia, Guilio’s B&B, where he taught us how to clean the truffles while his wife Christina prepared a 5 course meal for us using the truffles we found just hours earlier. The food was typically Tuscan – fresh, local, simple and utterly delicious. Here’s a list of what we had by course. All of the dishes had fresh truffles shaved on top.

We bought some of the truffle-infused truffle oil. I have a delicious pizza recipe that calls for the oil and I was out, so it worked out well. I keep thinking about the honey and wish I would have picked that up too. Unfortunately, I was so stuffed with truffles I wasn’t exactly thinking straight! We really enjoyed our day with Guilio and highly recommend looking him up for a unique experience if you’re ever planning a trip to Italy.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anita
    Jul 22, 2011 @ 01:46:48

    What a unique outing! Thanks for sharing the details. Who knew that this sort of experience existed!

    Reply

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