Truffles are a top Italian fall culinary item and are celebrated with truffle fairs and festivals in central and northern Italy. Going to a truffle fair is a must for foodies visiting Italy.
Truffles are found primarily in the regions of Piedmont, Molise, Tuscany, Umbria, Emilia Romagna, and Le Marche. During October and November, there are many white truffle fairs held in these regions, and fall dishes made with the white truffle, tartufo bianco, are plentiful in this part of Italy. What could be more romantic than feasting on a meal made with the sensuous truffle?
Going to a truffle fair is worthwhile even if you don't want to buy truffles. The scent of fresh truffles fills the air, and there are locally made truffle dishes to try (usually for much less than you'd pay in a restaurant). There are also entertainment and concession stands, which sell local foods such as cheese, salami, honey, and wine, at these events.
Fall White Truffle Fairs
- Alba's white truffle fair and market: One of the best in Italy, this fair and market takes place on weekends from early October through mid-November. Besides the truffle market and fair, there is lots of entertainment. Events start with a night of concerts and gastronomic stands and end with the truffle world auction and a white truffle walk for tourists. There's even a donkey race.
- Moncalvo, in the Monferrato area of Piedmont, also has a white truffle fair for the last two weekends of October.
- San Miniato Truffle Fair, La Sagra del Tartufo Bianco: Held in the medieval hill town of San Miniato on the second, third, and fourth weekends in November, this fair is a great way to sample fresh truffles. A large percentage of Italy's white truffles are produced in this territory, and November is the heart of truffle gathering season. There are food and craft stands and entertainment and restaurants will feature reasonably priced truffle menus. If you haven't had truffles, this is a great place to get an introduction.
- San Giovanni d'Asso, near Siena, has a good truffle festival the second and third weekends of November and a truffle museum open on weekends.
- Volterra holds its white truffle fair in late October and early November.
- Pietralunga holds its Mostra Mercato del Tartufo, Trade fair of Truffles, in mid-October.
- Citta di Castello holds the Truffle and Forest Products Fair in November.
- Bobbio holds a truffle and mushroom fair the first weekend Sunday of October.
- Savigno, in the hills southwest of Bologna, holds the Savigno Sagra del Tartufo the first 3 Sundays in November.
- Sasso Marconi, in the province of Bologna, holds a truffle sagra the first weekend of November.
- Calestano, in a pretty setting in the mountains south of Parma, holds a Black Truffle Fair every Sunday from mid-October through mid-November.
- San Pietro Avellana holds a truffle market the first weekend of November and a black truffle fair the second Sunday in August. The town is near the Molise's northwestern border, about 35 kilometers west of Agnone. Although the Molise region is often overlooked as a truffle destination, a large percentage of Italy's truffles actually come from this region.
Truffle Hunting and Truffle Excursions
Want to try truffle hunting yourself? Select Italy offers these three truffle hunting excursions:
- Wine and Truffles Excursion: A one day tour in Piedmont that includes truffle hunting, free time in Alba for lunch, and wine tasting at a Barbaresco producer. Includes transportation from Langhe hotels.
- Truffle Hunting in Le Marche: Truffle hunt in the countryside near Ascoli Piceno, an area that has truffles nearly all year. Also includes a truffle lunch. Includes round-trip transportation from Ascoli Piceno.
- San Miniato and Truffles in Tuscany: Truffle hunting near the Tuscan hill town of San Miniato, followed by lunch and wine tasting at a local winery. Pick up and drop off at Florence hotels.
Several hotels also offer truffle hunting experiences at an additional cost. In the hills above Forli' in Emilia Romagna, guests at Al Vecchio Convento can sign up for a truffle hunt as well as other activities. In Tuscany, Castelfalfi Resort offers truffle hunting.