For many travellers, Italy reigns supreme for gourmet holidays, particularly when it comes to truffles.
Truffles are one of the most expensive and sought-after delicacies in the world and Travel Associates understands that many travellers, particularly those who are interested in gourmet cooking or food, want to combine a truffle tour in their itinerary.
There are hundreds of species of truffles (fungi that develops underground) but, connoisseurs most covet the tartufo bianco or white truffle (Tuber magnatum) and the 'tartufo nero pregiato' or black truffle (Tuber melanosporum).
The finest samples can fetch as much as $5,000 per kilogram, although the powerful flavour means only a little is required to impart its special magic. At the height of the season - from October through December - truffle tours of Italy offer a feast of lavish dishes laced with the delectable treat.
Many regions hold festivals celebrating the truffle and mushrooms which add to the colour and excitement of the truffle tours of Italy.
Alba is the home of one of the oldest and most prestigious Italian truffle events. The bustling white truffle festival and market takes place from late September to mid November and includes concerts, the truffle world auction and an endless array of gastronomic delicacies. The taste indulgences are not limited to the fair as the town boasts numerous delicatessens selling truffle-based pastas, cheeses and extracts.
Soak in the serenity of the famed landscapes and quaint medieval towns on one of the most romantic truffle tours of Italy. Several towns throughout the region hold truffle fairs through November. Here, the discerning gourmet can learn to cook traditional Italian dishes from professional chefs.
In Umbria the townships of Pietralunga and Citta di Castello both host truffle markets in November. Known as 'the green heart of Italy', the fertile farmlands and dark emerald mountain ridges form a majestic backdrop for truffle tours.
4. Le Marche
This lesser known region is a secret treasure, with quaint towns, looming castles and holy shrines. Acqualagna, which claims the title of 'the truffle capital', has a white truffle fair that serves as a quiet sojourn on the truffle tours of Italy.
Italians in Emilia-Romagna are known for their passion for food and love of a good time. The region’s lively local fairs celebrate the bounties of the earth, including the treasured truffle and are held in Savigno and Sasso Marconi.
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