Beloved truffle: the taste map
Themed journeys to discover the most precious treasure of the forest: five unmissable destinations where you can hunt it down with your dog, taste it in a classic or gourmet version, learn to cook it like a chef. Between Molise, Umbria, Emilia and Alto Adige, winter is fragrant
For lovers of eco and slow tourism, discover the favourite habitats of the prized Umbrian black truffle: at the Relais Borgo Campello in Campello sul Clitunno (PG) it is harvest time between December and January. A marvellous location in a restored ancient Italian village, the albergo diffuso in the less-travelled hills of Umbria organises an exclusive truffle hunt with a truffle hunter and his dog. The walk through the woods while you are surprised by the treasure, an ingredient that will end up on the table for dinner prepared by the relais’ chef. (Tel. 3204549321, www.borgocampello.com/it/).
Perfect for children, to whom a special menu is dedicated, is the proposal of Borgotufi, an Albergo Diffuso at Castel del Giudice (IS) in Molise. From here, it is off for a day at the Le Tartufaie farm, amidst the Molise-Abruzzo woods, and an experiential tour to discover the black and prized white varieties, the environment in which they grow, and to see the cavatura with dogs up close. Then, the unforgettable picnic on seats in the hay or in the vintage cottage with a view, to enjoy a superb tasting of zero-kilometre products. (Tel. 0865946820, www.borgotufi.it)
Not only Alba. In Emilia-Romagna, in the Modena Apennines, black and white truffles are at home. And one enters the home of Chef Paolo Balboni, at the EXÉ restaurant in Fiorano Modenese (MO), who has developed an unforgettable menu based on the treasure of the forest. Before the experience at the table, an unmissable aperitif: a course to prepare the famous egg pasta with sfoglina, as in the best Emilian tradition, and the chef’s advice on how to prepare truffles like the grown-ups, with an appetising cooking lesson. In the end, all promoted to the grand final banquet. (Tel. 327 3034870, www.exerestaurant.com)
Small capitals of the Porcino IGP, the woods of the Valtaro, in the province of Parma, are also home to the precious underground mushroom. You can go hunting until March, participating in “A truffle hunter’s day” accompanied by an Excursionist Environmental Guide and with the aid of a search dog. Here you can learn how to identify and collect truffles, but it doesn’t end there: chef Mario Marini of the “Il Cielo di Strela” holiday farm also teaches participants all the secrets for cleaning and cooking black truffles. (Booking required: email@example.com, Tel. 3482885159, www.turismovaltaro.it)
Idea for lovers in search of taste and romance: in the Upper Eisack Valley, the Romantik Hotel Stafler in Sterzing (BZ), with the signature of 2 Michelin Star Chef Peter Girtler, organises the Truffle Weeks from 18 November to 6 December 2022. The offer is very rich: two nights in a charming room or suite with a regional breakfast and sweet buffet in the afternoon, a 6-course menu to choose from and an exclusive menu with five truffle specialities in the ancient Gasthofstube, an aperitif with Chef Peter Girtler, and total relaxation in the Romantica wellness oasis, with a wellness voucher worth 25 euro for a relaxing aromatic massage. The price for 2 nights is from 351 euro per person. (Tel. 0472 771136, www.romantikhotels.com)