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Love at first scent?

Tartufo or truffle is something that you either like or dislike. It is a peculiar flavour that we are not accustomed to in Northern Europe. I have learned to appreciate the truffle by now, and cannot resist to order it as soon as there are truffles on the menu.

Fresh trufflesThere are black and white truffles. Black are less expensive and  more common with a longer season. The white truffle is very rare and highly sought after by both Italians and gourmets around the world. It has a stronger and even more seductive scent than its black cousin.

Truffles grow on tree roots underground. To find the truffle, either truffle pigs are employed, just like in the medieval times, or trained “truffle dogs” that can recognise the scent and find the mushroom. Famous truffle areas are Piedmont in northern Italy, and Tuscany and Umbria in central Italy.

Pasta with truffle shavingsTruffle is often eaten with a pasta, like tagliolini, or polenta as a primo piatto. As secondo piatto you may find dishes like tenderloin or steak tartare with a blanket of truffle shavings.

In the town of Alba, Piedmont, a truffle festival is held every year – from mid October to mid November – where you can enjoy this culinary delicacy along with one of Italy’s best red wines, the Barolo.

A must on the gift list: The Truffle Shaver!