Everything you ever wanted to know about truffle picking and more

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Truffles have captivated our taste buds for hundreds of years and have led people across the world in search of the best specimens. Nowadays, as we become increasingly connected, it is the truffle that is doing the travelling as it becomes more and more popular with fine and casual diners alike. So join us as we go on a voyage along with the mysterious and extravagant life of the elusive truffle.

Alba - The home of truffles?

Alba - The home of truffles?
© Yulia Grogoryeva/123RF

The truffle's spiritual home is the Alba region of Italy where during high season you can get the luxurious fungus in shops, restaurants, cafes and probably even barbershops as the area is inundated with some of the finest produce around. For those wanting to see the truffle on its home turf the White Truffle Festival, which has been held every December for over 80 years, is a month long celebration of truffle infused food with events like donkey racing and medieval re-enactments to keep you entertained between tastings. Even if you can't make it during the festivities Alba is still a truffle lover's dream with any number of opportunities to get a taste of the region's most famous export in its charming eateries.

Close to the truffles famous home are its other provincial European residences which include: Croatia's Istria and France's Vaucluse regions. Istria has been a dark horse in the truffle world as it consistently produces great crops of three black varieties each year. In fact the region even yielded the world's largest white truffle back in 1999 worth over 30,000 dollars. Truffle lovers in Croatia should head to the Hotel Lone and Hotel Monte Mulini for truffle-centric hotel programs. France's Vaucluse has enchanted everyone from Picasso to Peter Wayle with its beauty, the gorgeous area, in the Provence region of France, is also an absolute truffle powerhouse. Vaucluse produces 80% over of France's black truffles each year! Every November the region hosts the traditional Richerenches Truffle Market which is opened by the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Black Diamond, clad in black cloaks in honor of their exalted export, an absolute must watch (especially when followed by a tasty lunch).

Time for a truffle tour?

Time for a truffle tour?
© Maurizio Milanesio/123RF

Beyond fancy hotel stays and Diamond Knights one of our favorite ways to experience the world of truffles is to book a tour in the fledgling Truffle Hunt industry. The average tour involves being greeted by a suitably wholesome old man with his trusty canine friend who will then impart his worldly wisdom whilst teaching you the intricacies of the truffle hunt. Once Fido has finished his treasure hunting your afternoon saunter normally culminates with a glass of regional wine accompanied by a home cooked meal with the all-important truffles as the central ingredient. We can't think of a more pleasant way to spend the day to be honest!

The truffle doesn't stop its influence in Europe though - it has spread its wings and a jumped over the pond as well. For those not able to make it over to Europe you'll be happy to hear the great state of Oregon has also found the truffle irresistible. In quintessential American style the Oregon Truffle Festival is a wonderful smorgasbord of delights, which amongst other things offers attractions such as beer and truffle tasting and pairing sessions and scent training for any truffle dog hopefuls! Whilst you might be skeptical of New World truffles at first, Oregon's four varieties of white and black truffles will win you over with their unique flavor borne from the regions distinctive terroir.

Truffles everywhere?!

truffle fries ??

Une publication partagée par @carbo_loadin le

Oregon isn't the only other place outside of Europe engaged in a passionate love affair with truffles; people are getting a taste for it all around the world. In fine dining restaurants all over traditional dishes like Tagliarini topped with flakes of truffle are a staple, but truffles are no longer the reserve of the high and haughty as their incredible flavor has begun to take hold of eateries of all calibers. For fast food lovers there are truffle fries which have taken the trendier sections of market stalls by storm alongside truffle noodles or even truffle ice cream. The craze has been borne from the increasing availability of truffle oil which although has no actual truffle content has been carefully refined in laboratories to give the same taste for a much cheaper price and whilst we can't say it's as good as the real thing it's definitely worth a try, especially when you can chuck some on your fries with a clear conscience.

So there we have it, there's no doubting the popularity of the truffle and it shows no signs of abating. So whether you want to travel to the truffle heartlands of Europe, pair its flavor with some beer in Oregon or chow down on some truffle oil laced fries from your local hip food market there are plenty of options for getting involved in the ever growing truffle extravaganza.

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Benjamin Jacques
Posted on 01/09/2017 7 shares
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