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A Mini Guide to Italian Truffles- Hunting, Buying and Cooking

November 25th, 2020 by Prontopia

A mini guide to Italian truffles- hunting, buying and cooking

Italian truffles- the mushroom kind, not the chocolate kind- are known in the culinary world as the king of the Italian kitchen. Their distinct smell and incredible flavor, combined with their rarity and often high price, add a touch of luxury to any dish. In addition to their intense flavor, truffles are known for everything from health benefits to adding some spice to your love life- good things in a year where staying in is the new going out!

A Mini Guide to Italian Truffles- Hunting, Buying and Cooking 0

Prontopia local assistants can shop for all of the ingredients you need to make these fantastic truffle recipes, or any recipe you choose! No time to cook? We pick up and deliver from your favorite restaurants too, as well as pharmacies and other stores. Book a Prontopia local assistant today and see what we can do for you!

Read on for tips on how to find, cook, and store Italian truffles.

How to find the best truffles:

Originally pigs were used to find truffles, thanks to their keen sense of smell that would lead them directly to these delicious underground mushrooms. But, pigs being pigs, they often ate the truffles immediately (we can’t really blame them), rendering a day’s truffle hunt fruitless. Thankfully, man’s best friend came to the rescue and now leads the charge for all truffle hunts. In fact, dogs are the only animal allowed by law to hunt truffles because they do not disrupt the soil or ecosystem while digging. This is just one of many, many laws related to hunting, buying and selling truffles- which is why you should always go with a guide if you want to search for truffles properly- and legally! Check out the links at the end for suggestions on where to go truffle hunting in Italy.

Shopping for truffles:

Not up for a hunt in the woods but rather a hunt in the market? In both the US and Italy, you can order truffles of all kinds directly from Eataly. Don’t let the prices of fresh rare truffles scare you, you can enjoy the flavor of truffles in inexpensive alternatives like truffle cream, truffle butter and truffle oil, which gives you a hint of the flavor without breaking the bank. In the US, Trader Joes often carries truffle butter and truffle flavored popcorn as well- not exactly Italian, but delicious anyway! Check out the links at the end for tips on where to buy fresh truffles and truffle products in one of Prontopia’s top cities- Florence!

Cooking with truffles:

Given their strong flavor and intense smell, truffles work best in small doses and with few other ingredients- simple is better. Some of our favorite recipes come from Italian food bloggers who know exactly how to keep it simple! Here’s a few great ones to choose from- and remember, you can always substitute fresh truffles with truffle oil, truffle butter and even frozen options recommended in the recipes below:

Storing truffles:

If you do happen to score fresh truffles and manage to not eat them all, be sure to store them properly! Follow Eataly’s tips for storing fresh truffles:

...avoid moisture at all costs. Place the prized ingredient in clean tissue paper or a breathable container at room temperature in a dark space. Change the tissue paper daily to avoid the build-up of moisture and to retain aroma. Do not freeze your truffle: it will accumulate moisture and lose its aroma. We also recommend that you store your truffle on its own. Products like rice or salt will absorb the aroma, so especially avoid them (unless you intend to flavor the rice or salt!).”

Where to shop for truffles in Florence:

  • La Bottega del Tartufo 4, Via Per Santa Maria, 3

  • Conti Tuscany Flavors, Via Pancake, 29

  • Procacci, Via de'Tornabuoni 64R

  • Il Tartufo/Mercato Centrale, Via dell'Ariento, 47/77

  • Pegna dal 1860, Via dello Studio, 26R

  • Eataly Firenze, Via de'Martelli, 22R

Where to go truffle hunting in Italy:

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We hope you enjoyed this culinary adventure and a bit of armchair travel! And remember, whether you need help finding just the right ingredients for your home cooking or help finding the perfect truffle restaurant in Italy, Prontopia is here for you!

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