Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian

Well… we’ll keep the exact location secret. Recently we went “truffle hunting” with Jacopo and his dog, a Lagotto/Breton called Ufo (at home he has another truffle dog, Pia), in one of the woods near Badia a Passignano (Tavarnelle).

And we had the privilege of discovering another side of the Chianti territory. The event was organised by the Ristoro L’Antica Scuderia and the Bottega della Scuderia.

In our woods grow the delicious ‘jewels of the table’, and at the “Scuderia” in Badia a Passignano they’re real truffle experts.

They dedicate some mornings to “truffle hunting”: small groups with reservations, follow the truffle hunter and his dog. They explore the woods and return with their precious booty.

A marvel of nature is turned into mouthwatering specialities on the table: first with an aperitif in the Bottega della Scuderia cellar.

Lunch is burrata with black truffles, tagliolini with white truffles, eggs (from Parisi) with truffles, tagliata with truffles, artisanal truffle ice cream. A paradise for foodies.

We explore the woods guided by Jacopo, who is a real expert: “Here in the Chianti – he begins his story without losing sight of Ufo, which has already started hunting – the white truffle grows from September to December, and 2018 has been an excellent year. From 10th January to 15th April you find the ‘marzuolo’ truffle, also called “bianchetto”, which is a bit less fragrant but flavourful. Our area is highly suited to this variety”.

“After the marzuolo – he explains – the ‘scorzone’, or black truffle, starts growing. Unlike the white truffle, this type needs the drought. Every territory, as happens with the wine, gives different nuances to the flavour. The trees?The white poplar, but also the oak, the hazel, the hornbeam, and the shrubs that grow around here, in a symbiosis that we don’t understand completely”.

“The white truffle – he specifies – is the only variety that cannot be farmed. It needs a dynamic, and constantly changing environment, to grow. And a humidity level that is difficult to replicate. It’s unpredictable”.

How long does it take to train a dog? “You need to start the training as a puppy – replies Jacopo – When the dog is 4 to 5 years old – like Ufo – we can say that it’s at the beginning of their career. Females take less time, but then they need to have puppies. By now I know every movement, every gesture of my dog Ufo …”.

He is cut off mid- sentence. Ufo starts digging, showing that he’s found something. Jacopo takes his tool and begins to turn over the soil under the dog’s watchful eye: the smell is inebriating.

A nice thirty gram white truffle. Ufo has got its prize, a handful of leaves thrown in the air for it to chase.

We go a little further: and find another couple of small black truffles. Then we head back to the “Scuderia”, from the woods directly to the table. An unforgettable experience, from start to finish.