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Tartufo

Autumn's Treasure

To find this elusive ingredient, you’ll need to be in the right place, at the right time… with the right dog.

Truffles are a prized ingredient in Italy, and cost thousands of euros per kilogram. The delicate, complex aroma of the truffle is a treasure locked away by Mother Nature. It’s protected by the soil, sheltered from the cold and sunshine, and sealed by a rough exterior.

Truffles are highly sought after for their distinct earthy, musky flavour and aroma. You'll find them served shaved over dishes like pasta or risotto, with about 8 to 10 grams per individual serving.

So, why are truffles so expensive?

Truffles are expensive because they're so rare. This is mainly because they're nearly impossible to cultivate: recreating the necessary growing conditions is very difficult and costly, plus it can take years to yield truffles that have any value. If you want to find them, you'll need a specially trained dog, another expensive part of the process.

There are 3 main types of truffle in Italy;        

  • Il Tartufo Bianco/White Truffle (Tuber magnatum)
    Most famouly found in Alba (Piemonte), the tartufo bianco grows spontaneously near the roots of certain trees such as oak, willow and poplar, in the rich woodland soil of northern Italy in Piemonte and Le Langhe , as well as some areas of Tuscany and Molise. The tartufo bianco is found almost exclusively in Italian soil. They do not have an outer shell, so are very sensitive to environmental changes, which makes them even more rare - and expensive.

  •  Il Tartufo Nero/Black Truffle (Tuber melanosporum)
    This type of truffle is also found in France, and is also known as the tartufo nero del Périgord. It usually grows near the roots of hazelnut and oak trees, and prefers the well-drained soil of Umbria and Le Marche. The provinces of Spoleto and Norcia are particularly famous truffle hotspots.

  •   Tartufo Scorzone/Burgandy Truffle (Tuber uncinatum)
    A less intense and more common variety of truffle that can be found across Europe. It has a milder taste, similar to that of porcini mushrooms. Its exterior is similar to the tartufo nero, but its flesh will remain a creamy white colour when you cut it open, whereas the flesh of the tartufo nero will oxidise and turn black. It's important to tell them apart, as their flavour (and price tag...) are very different.

Get Inspired

Autumn is a gorgeous season in Italy. September brings in fresh breezes that are welcome after the scorching summer months, slowly transitioning into chilly days with crystal clear skies.

As the days get shorter and the leaves begin to fall, an array of delicious ingredients grace our dinner tables. Bright pumpkins, shiny chestnuts and earthy mushrooms provide much-needed comfort and nourishment as the cold sets in.

A wonderful way to make the flavours of your truffle shine is by shaving them on top of handmade tagliatelle. So simple,  but so indulgent. Why not try our fresh pasta recipe, or try shaving truffle over your homemade lasagnette bianche?

Travelling to Italy?

We have lots of authentic food experiences all over Italy, from hands-on cooking classes to immersive dining experiences.

If you love truffles as much as we do, you’ve got to try our truffle hunt.

You’ll learn about the secrets of local specialities at home with one of our Cesarine before enjoying a menu based around… You’ve guessed it; truffles!

Secret Discount...

Pssst! Can you keep a secret?

The Secret Sauce readers get 20% off any experience on our website

Just insert SECRETSAUCE20 at the checkout. 

If you have any questions, you can get in touch with our friendly team.