Monday, March 15, 2010

The White Truffle of San Miniato


San Miniato is a small medieval town sitting atop a hill surrounded by vineyards just 40 kilometers from Florence, located in the province of Pisa. San Miniato is one of the most abundant white truffle area in Europe. The white truffle (which is usually a pale ochre in colour) also called Marzuolo truffle, is the most valuable variety known.

Truffles are a type of mushroom that grows underground. Traditionally, truffles require animals to assist in its pollination because of their location away from the wind. Animals, usually pigs, are also used to help hunt for the truffles as the mushrooms are believed to emit a smell similar to a pig sex hormone. Dogs, however, have recently become more frequently used when hunting as the animals don’t eat the find as much as the pigs.

Because of the challenge in finding truffles and their rich taste, truffles have become an expensive foodstuff and a favorite of haute cuisine chefs. In Tuscany are used in making risotto or simply shaved on homemade pasta with a little bit of butter. White truffles are always consumed raw, because the heat destroys their delicate and unique flavor.

San Miniato, hosts a white truffle festival every November. The festival devoted to the culinary commodity brings together the best of the local cultivators to share their wares. Standard truffle products (fresh truffles, truffle oil, and special equipment like shavers and containers) are available as are more unique delicious products like cheeses and salamis filled with truffle shavings, truffle honey, and chocolate infused with truffles. A few food stands at the festival serve rich Tuscan wine in plastic cups with a range of truffle dishes to fill your stomach including truffles on top of sunny side up fried eggs, truffle pizzas, and of course truffles shaved over homemade pasta in a light oil. All restaurants in the small town offer special truffle menus with your choice of dishes or affordable three-course truffle meals.

Experiencing fresh white truffles from San Miniato, is a truly unique culinary and almost mystical experience. Get to know Tuscany's greatest culinary treasure -The White truffle of San Miniato, Il Tartufo Bianco di San Miniato!



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