Seriously, how good are truffles? They are right up there as one of my favourite flavours and fragrances.
On a recent trip to the Langhe region in Piemont, Northern Italy my two travel companions, B&B insisted on doing a truffle hunt.
Ok, it’s not really a hunt, it’s more like a search. Taking into account there’s wild animals involved, a dog in this case, and it’s in the wilderness I’m going to stick with hunt.
To be honest I wasn’t so keen on the idea. Stories of large groups on a manufactured 15 minute follow the leader search, for one pre placed truffle, the whole time surrounded by a horde of loud tourists flashing away with their point and shoots. Thanks, but no thanks.
B&B had been to the region before and vouched to know a genuine local who could take a small group and we could keep what we find.
We me Stefano (the genuine local) at his shop/company Tartufi & Co. A 10 minute drive and we were in the hills outside Alba with our hunter Silvio and dog Zar.
It was pretty cool watching Silvio and Zar working together. Silvio would direct Zar to specific areas of the forest that would suit truffles. Zar would dart back and forth occasionally stopping and shove his snout in the ground. Whenever Zar would start digging it was a sign something was there. Zar would need to be pulled away after a few digs so the truffle would not be damaged.
In total we found 5 good sized black truffles and got to take 3 (along with a white truffle bought after) back to London for a meal with friends.
One good thing about cooking with truffles is it doesn’t require a great deal of effort or ingredients. However it is a hassle cleaning the dirt off the truffle.
For me fresh truffle has to be with pasta or eggs.
We decided on fresh egg pasta (bought from the truffle festival in alba). 2min on the boil, large nob of butter, sprinkle finely cut truffles, done.