The Truffle Hunt is On! - How to Get Your Hands on One of Italy's Favorite Foods
If you eat truffles in high-end American restaurants, you’ll easily pay hundreds of dollars for a few shavings.
In Italy, especially during the truffle hunting season and the Alba International White Truffle fair, it seems like there’s so many in circulation, it’s hard to understand why prices are so high!
Truffles Cannot be Grown, Only Found
Finding a fist-sized white truffle—white truffles are rarer than black summer truffles—is no easy feat. They’re so hard to come by that truffle hunters go out at night to keep anyone form following them to their best truffle foraging grove.
Dogs—not pigs, who might eat the truffles they find—paw at the ground when they find the scent—and truffle hunters unearth their prize with a special, spade-like digging tool.
And while truffle hunts for tourists can make the whole thing look simple, digging up handfuls of black truffles in just a couple hours, it can take trained truffle hunters and their dogs weeks to come upon the massive truffles you see at the market, often pulling 12-or-more-hour days all the while.
The International Truffle Fair
In the end, the hunt is worth it though. At the international fair, white truffles can fetch 3,000 euros a kilo!
When I saw hunters selling their wares out of the trunk of their car on the side of the road, though, the truffles were going for 250 euro a kilo.
For consumer, it is a huge savings to get them from the source, before they go through layers of middlemen at the markets and restaurants to finally reach your plate.
Cooking with Real Truffles at Home
For cooking yourself, it’s best to get the grated truffles stored in oil, but if you get your hands on the real thing, there are two perfect ways to enjoy it.
In our newsletter, we showcased a recipe for Tajarin with Truffles, the traditional handmade Piemontese pasta that is the best loved accompaniment for these treasured tubers.
But my favorite way to enjoy them—which also happens to be the most simple—is grated over fried eggs.