Condé Nast Traveler

The truffle itself—the uncommon, subterranean fungus discovered at the base of sure species of oak timber, which grows most abundantly in Italy—attracts food-loving travelers from far and huge. The prized delicacy has a pungent, petrol-like aroma as unmistakable as smoked meat.

But whereas it’s a sizzling merchandise in the present day, the truffle hasn’t all the time been so revered. Appreciated by farmers in the early millennia, the fungus was then deemed “devilish” by the church in the Middle Ages because of its fame as an aphrodisiac. It wasn’t till the Renaissance that the truffle was revitalized and valued as soon as once more, with “truffles provided to the Royal Family” throughout this time, says Benuzzi. While some generational truffle hunters maintained the custom all through time, the meals has had many dips in reputation as a results of centuries of repression.

The truffle came back into vogue internationally after trifolau (Italian for truffle hunter) Giacomo Morra’s advertising and marketing marketing campaign in the early- to mid-1900s, which concerned sending white truffles from Alba, Piedmont, to celebrities and different influential figures equivalent to Winston Churchill and Marilyn Monroe. Before Morra’s advertising and marketing savvy, which put truffles on the radar of each chef and gourmand globally, the truffle was most just lately seen as swill by many farmers, says govt chef Paolo Lavezzini of the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze. Now, with the truffle market well-established and thriving, the rarer white truffle from Alba (tartufi d’Alba) can price as a lot as $4,500 per pound.

Giulio Benuzzi, skilled truffle hunter

Tommaso Barletta/Rocco Forte Hotels

Truffles discovered by the Savini household

Courtesy Four Seasons Hotel Firenze

While the Piedmont area, Alba particularly, is taken into account the epicenter of the truffle commerce after Morra helped put the metropolis on the map—the annual International White Truffle Fair in Alba runs from October to December, throughout the top of white truffle season—the final couple years have seen luxury hotels in Tuscany double down on distinctive truffle looking choices to lure vacationers from the proclaimed truffle capital.

At Hotel Savoy Firenze, friends can hunt truffles with Benuzzi in the forests close to his non-public nation home in Bagno a Ripoli. The expertise consists of a transient pre-hunting aperitivo, adopted by a truffle-based lunch or dinner ready by Benuzzi himself, as he shares tales of internet hosting truffle-hunting excursions on Top Chef and The Bachelor.

Meanwhile, the Four Seasons Firenze has teamed up with certainly one of Italy’s prime truffle-hunting households, Savini of Savini Tartufi—this truffle looking household is greatest recognized for the 2-pound, 13-ounce white truffle they present in 2007, which bought at public sale for a mind-boggling $330,000—the highest such sale ever, in line with Guinness World Records. Guests can select from a few choices, together with a four-hour funghi looking expertise, with a cease at the Savini household museum and lunch; or a five-hour tour, which additionally consists of a cooking class with a professional chef.

At COMO Castello del Nero, positioned in the coronary heart of Chianti, vacationers can be part of Francesco and Mery for truffle looking on the lodge’s property. The findings from the day are loved throughout a truffle dinner at the lodge’s Michelin-starred restaurant, La Torre, a one-of-a-kind culinary expertise launched in 2019. Guests can anticipate an ever-changing seasonal menu with truffle-laced pastas, and distinctive dishes equivalent to Steak of Chianina—an historical Italian cattle breed primarily present in Tuscany.