Are truffles only for autumn?

What if I invited you to enjoy a nice truffle risotto together? No, I haven’t gone crazy thinking about truffles in summer, simply you can’t miss this magnificent Piedmontese truffle in one of your summer evenings.

I know that at this point a question arises: but isn’t the truffle harvested in autumn? Up to some time ago I would have asked myself the same question, convinced that I could not find it in any other season.

But this is not the case. There are many different varieties of truffles: from the rarest white truffle to the precious black truffle, up to the black summer truffle that is collected in the period from May to September.

Domenica Bertolusso and Beppe Montanaro, founders of Tartuflanghe, artisans that have been sharing the excellence of truffles since 1968, know it well. 

It was their ambition to give lovers of good cuisine the opportunity to taste the truffle even out of season. In this way, their historic restaurant “Da Beppe”, was soon transformed into a truffle artisan laboratory from which products such as the “Tartufissima” pasta, present in Oprah Winfrey’s list of favorite things, and the “SummerTruffle” our beloved summer truffle, enclosed in a jar and processed according to a special technique that maintains unaltered the characteristics of the truffle and guarantees incredibly long preservation.

The name of the company was thought up by Domenica who wanted to unite her love for truffles with the place where they are born: the Langhe.

But do you know why the truffle is so famous in Piedmont?

Langhe: from wine to truffle

If you had to think about the main wine cities of the region, which ones would come to your mind? Surely among the most famous names, there would be Barolo, Alba, Barbaresco, Neive… 

But wait, before I make you a list two pages long, why did I start talking about wine when up to a minute ago we were talking about truffles?

Well, because vines and truffles have two things in common: climate and soil. So, just as these places are perfect for growing vines, so are they for truffles.

In case you didn’t know, these hills were once covered by the sea. The soil that characterized the seabed, rich in carbonate, has remained in the green we see today and has become the key element needed to allow both grapes and truffles to grow.

This is how the Langhe became the home of the truffle. A fungus so unpredictable that it is able to grow even under a vineyard, perhaps near a willow pole that has taken root over time.

The climate and the territory would already be enough to make you understand how unique this ingredient can be, but the story does not end here.

More precious than diamonds:

If we were in an episode of “Murder, she wrote” I don’t think even Jessica Fletcher would have an easy time with truffles. Let’s say that for these mushrooms a simple slow attentive walk is not enough. It takes the right equipment and having a “trifolau” by your side, which is not a danger virus, but the dialect name by which truffle hunters are called.

But do you think this is enough to make the truffles so precious? Of course not, the search for truffles is only the tip of the iceberg. Their rebellious soul flourishes in damp places, and as a symbol of wild and slow nature, they take several years to grow and mature. So get comfortable because in some cases it can take up to six years.

If all this has made you want to explore the lands of the truffle, I can only suggest a few routes to do with friends. Lace-up your hiking boots, here we go!

On the paths of the truffle

Among the most beautiful paths to be taken in search of this delicious mushroom, we find the “Sentiero del Tartufo” (Truffle Path), a 13k m walk to rediscover new emotions .

The path starts from Neive, more precisely from the chapel of San Rocco. It goes up along a small road and continues downhill until it skirts the level crossing of Borgonuovo, where you take the road towards Bricco. 

Cross the bridge over the Tinella river and go on until you find the farmstead “Vano”. Continue on a dirt road until you reach a truffle ground rich in secular plants, the perfect place to find some little jewel. After a grassy road that winds among the trees, cross a stream and continue on a steep road surrounded by the forest.

Once out of the woods, you will pass first a hazel grove and then a vineyard and then you will enter the woods again, continuing towards Caloglio and Spessa. 

At this point, you can decide to start the return or complete the itinerary. 

To complete the itinerary you have to walk for 1 km of asphalt in the direction of a big repeater that is on the top of a hill. After a slight descent, you will continue through the vineyards between descents and ascents. After the last vineyard, continue towards Olano, Borgata Ritorno, and then to Caso, where you can climb up to a large cherry tree from which you can enjoy a spectacular view. Going down in the middle of new vineyards you meet the provincial road to Neive that will bring you back to the starting point.

The route is long and steep just like our truffle, but it is definitely worth it to appreciate this product and this land at its best. 

What about a nice truffle appetite halfway through the walk? There are plenty of snacks!

– Until next time, With love!
Francesca