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White and black gold

Truffle hunting in Italy

The hilly province of Piemonte is the truffle region of Italy where black truffles grow throughout the year. And from mid-September until the second week of November, an even more desirable delicacy can be found here - the white truffle.

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Truffle as delicacy

From fungus to star ingredient

Three centuries ago, the French King Louis XIV’s chefs introduced the truffle as a gourmet treat. The truffle is a small fungus that grows beneath the soil, mainly in Italy and Spain, with a powerful aroma and a unique mushroom-like flavour.

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Loved by connoisseurs everywhere, the truffle has a top spot on the menus of countless Michelin-star restaurants. It is a delicacy to savour!

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White and black gold

Well worth the effort

White and black truffles are also called white and black gold. Like gold, the truffle is a rare product which is the reason for its high price. Various breeders have tried to produce the product synthetically but the results have a chemical scent and very little taste.

But don’t let the cost scare you off: The characteristic, intense flavour of a real truffle is unparalleled. Just a few slices on a plate of tagliatelle will take your taste buds to seventh heaven.

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Traditionally hunters used pigs to search for truffles. This posed a major risk as, before they knew it, the pigs would swallow the precious product whole! Nowadays they deploy highly trained dogs that use their powerful noses to smell the truffle aroma from miles away.

Truffle hunters

Dogs replacing pigs

Truffle hunters, or trifulau, prefer to work alone due of the scarcity of truffles and the highly competitive nature of the sector. You’ll recognise them by their black fingernails (from digging in the soil) and trained dogs by their side.

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Daniele Codegoni

Truffle on the menu

The pleasures of Piemonte

Green hills, picturesque villages and truffles; this is Piemonte in a nutshell. The white truffle of which the aroma is even stronger than that of black truffles can be found here from September to November.

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Most restaurants will have both white and black truffles on their menus, and they’re also sold at the stalls of truffle markets together with other yummy products such as truffle bonbons, truffle oil and truffle cake. If you’re lucky you may even encounter a truffle hunter to take you on an actual truffle hunt!

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