Food and Wine writer Kyle Phillips once wrote:
Though Alba and Acqualagna are perhaps the best known areas for white truffles in Italy, Tuscany also has several areas renowned for the noble tubers, and beginning this week there will be a series of events between San Miniato, Volterra, and Palaia, held under the auspices of the Settimana Internazioneale del Tartufo Bianco delle Colline San Miniatesi that will run from October 29 to November 9. In particular, on October 29 the Azienda Agricola San Gervasio will award a prize to the truffle picker who brings in the best truffle, on November 6th the city of Volterra will celebrate the first mystery written in Italian. In addition, throughout the week local restaurants will be adding truffle dishes to their menus. And there will be truffle markets. If you're in Italy, it's a wonderful opportunity! And if you're not now, San Miniato is quite beautiful and well worth a journey; though now the excitement is about white truffles they also have black truffles from September though March, and other lesser kinds through May. Foodies take note!
So, of course, we went. So there's this fascinating medieval hill town and all through the place people are serving truffles at mealtime. There's a big, white tent, and inside are all the vendors and you can practically pass out with the joy of truffle essence dancing in your head. Here are a couple of pictures. Too bad there is no smell-a-vision yet.
During the last three weekends in November, the white truffle festival in San Miniato offers tartufi plus wines, cheeses, salamis, olive oils, grappas and much more.
One of the first Italian truffle fairs of the year happens in the Marche region on the last weekends of October in the charming medieval village of Sant'Angelo in Vado.
To the right is a picture slide show, showing what to expect when you go to one of these fairs.
You'll notice that the whole town is decked out, the main streets full of people searching out gastronomic delights that aren't limited to truffles. The atmosphere is what you might imagine a medieval fair to be like. There are magicians, animals to be petted, face painting and games for children. For adults there is wine, cheese (aphrodisiac cheese, too!) and speeches by local dignitaries in frescoed palaces.
And of course there are truffles, too. Restaurants feature meals doused in them. But at this time of year, truffles can be pretty scarce--so prices can be astronomical. Read more: An Early Truffle Fair in Italy: Sant'Angelo in Vado.
Sant'Angelo in Vado isn't a hotbed of hotels, so you're best off staying close. We love the Parco Ducale Country House in Urbania, a very nice town just 4.9 miles from Sant'Angelo in Vado. Another highly rated place to stay 7.4 miles away is Residenza D'Epoca San Girolamo, a converted 16th century monastery with restaurant and free Wi-Fi.
La Diligenza is an Inn in nearby Borgo Pace with places to stay and a fantastic restaurant. See our Review of La Diligenza.
Truffle hunts have become very popular. Some are just fake affairs. You watch some dogs dig and come up with planted truffles. Then you eat some. But we've recently had a very good experience at the Black Truffle Lodge, where the truffle hunt really explained the importance of the tuber to the local population.
Piemonte is known for its fine cuisine and truffles. You can arrange a truffle hunt there. You can also stay in a place run by a truffle hunter and get truffles grated over your eggs in the morning: Breakfast of Champions in Piemonte.
The unique cultural landscape of the Langhe and its long history of wine making qualifies it for inscription to the UNESCO world heritage list. The area is produces some of Piemonte's top wines and cheeses--not to mention the white truffles of Alba.
One of the earliest truffle fairs in Italy is held in Sant' Angelo in Vado in Le Marche.
The Alba Truffle Festival is one of the big ones in Italy.
Aolmaia has some information on truffle festivals and can arrange truffled weekends.
More on White Truffles from Delicious Italy.
Pisa online has some truffle pictures and information in Italian.