The Italian white truffle season is officially open. Autumn’s culinary jewel now fills discerning plates and year-old yearnings. As Italian festivities chaperone summer’s end with autumn gifting roasted chestnuts, mushrooms galore and I am sure, other yet to be discovered delicacies. This aroma, taste enhancer complements falling temperatures and earthy coloured tones with filling delights: from bruschetta entrées to fondues and friskily stirred eggs that set the perfect base for thinly shaved truffles.
What are white truffles?
White truffles, Tuber magnatum Pico, are one specific type of tuber that belong to the fungi family. They require unique environmental and climatic conditions to fruit and usually grow in a symbiotic relationship with the roots of some trees- mainly: poplar, beech, white willow, linden, hazel and oak. In Italy, there are more than 20 varieties but only 9 are edible. Here, the harvest period is usually from September 21st – January 31st ( with the best period considered as being from October to December). Of all the truffle varieties, the white truffle although it also grows spontaneously it however still cannot be cultivated and it is mainly found in specific parts of Italy. It is also the most valuable, with the highest market value and ideally it is served thinly shaved, raw.
Here though is the other side of an unwitting – oft misunderstood luxury; the festive experience that locally spirits her infamous trade and record breaking, auctioned prices. The Italian feasts and festivals known for offering generous servings of family friendly live music, expert wine and artisanal beer pairings, tried and true truffle dishes, over loud – well, animated banter that pull you in year after year, after year. One of the many exciting things to do in Le Marche is to experience food festivals and fairs.
This year, Appechio’s Truffle Festival was delightful in its authenticity. This small town in Le Marche’s mountainside was graciously receptive, well prepared to host one of its crowning events and truly a gem to explore at night. There were booths with craft beer, live music at every turn, scores of teenagers and families strolling through the town, This link takes you to part 1 of Truffles: The Italian experience. Appechio 2019
For more information on truffles here in Italy, see The Centro Nazionale Studi Tartufo ( The National Centre for Truffle Study)