Finally, we will talk truffles. When we left Citerna, it was only about a 15 or 20 minute drive to Tartufi Bianconi, where Saverio and his wife, Gabriella (who was right there to greet us and is a delightful person - beautiful, happy smile both on her face and in her eyes), have their home and their truffle business. I think most likely they have other places where they can hunt truffles because I'm not sure that where we were would provide enough truffles to make and sell all the products they have available. Perhaps they also purchase truffles from other truffle hunters. I didn't think to ask about any of that.
And before I forget, Tartufi Bianconi's website link is: http://www.tartufibianconi.it/italiano/chi.html Note - the black text is in Italian, the red text is in English - fairly obvious, but it took me a minute to realize it. :)
And, Gabriella was kind enough to send me Cecelia's web address which is: www.valtiberinasface.com so if you think you'll be visiting Italy at some point in the future, you might want to save these for future reference. :)
I'm going to do little blurbs after each picture this time cause hopefully that will help me remember things. It's been too long since the day of the hunt and even though I will always have wonderful memories of the day (and the FOOD!), they won't be as detailed as when they were fresh.
All this weighing and smelling was done in their "factory" area - a spotlessly clean group of rooms where they make their various truffle products - dried truffles, frozen truffles, truffle honey(!), truffle butter, truffle oil, truffle cream, truffle tartufata (like a pesto only with chopped up truffles and no basil), and then there is truffle instant polenta (and mashed potatoes!), truffle salt, truffle pasta...and I feel sure I'm probably forgetting some, but you get the idea - there's apparently nothing you can't do with a truffle, bless 'em. Here's a picture of one of the areas in the "laboratory" and also a picture of their shipping area - their business is quite successful, I think.
Then we went back outside to go in the house and I stopped to get a better picture of Cecelia who was still with us, helping to explain everything. I would think she'd be worn out by the end of the day, but later she left us to go out on a date. :)
Next, into the kitchen...a beautiful workroom.
I would really recommend this whole day to anyone who is thinking about a trip to Italy. It was wonderful and the price is reasonable, particularly with more people doing it - the price comes down a bit then.
And Gabriella was kindness itself to me. She was trying to help Jane and Betty Lou figure out the best way to get me to Valfabricca where they would drop me off to catch the bus back to Perugia, and then contacted the bus people to confirm that there was actually a bus and what time, and then at some point said something about the train from Citta di Castello (the town nearest to them) and I said "you mean there IS one?" and yes there was. So she then found out what time it left, it left quite soon, she said we could follow Saverio to the train station and I asked well, could I maybe just go with him then and Jane and Betty Lou could just start back and yes, yes, that was fine. At that point Gabriella was probably kind of stunned at my big hug and "Italian cheek kiss/kiss" she got from me but I was so incredibly relieved to not be sending Jane and Betty Lou on yet another trip out of their way. So Saverio took me to the station, the ticket office was closed, he went into the tabacchi that was there, told the woman what ticket I needed, I paid her and with a little kiss/kiss from him, he left and I waited about 20 minutes for my train straight to Perugia!! Wonderful end to the day and my only regret was that I didn't know about this in time to just take the train out there in the first place! Good grief - I could have got a reasonable hour train, gone out to Citta di Castello, Saverio could have picked me up on the way to the hunt, and all that turmoil could have been avoided.
And that, folks, is the truffle hunt saga. I have well and truly tasted truffles and they may be stinky but oh, mama mia - I loved everything I ate!
- Mary Lynne
- West Virginia
- When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!
P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).
I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.