Location – San Miniato Truffle Fair (Various dates in November)
The first time I tried truffle I wasn’t all that impressed – it smelled really strongly of gas and looked pretty gross. I remember thinking that people must like it because it’s rare and exclusive. It only took a few more tastes though before I was hooked – that stuff really grows on you! Or not, as the case may be, because truffles are a fungus and this is what makes them so rare – you can’t cultivate them and you need trained dogs or pigs to sniff them out. On top of that they seem to only be found in certain areas of Italy and France, and a very few on the West Coast of the US.
One of these areas is the beautiful countryside around San Miniato in Tuscany, where they hold a truffle fair every November. If you’ve ever thought, ‘I like this [insert food stuff], but it would be better with truffle’ – you’ll find it here..cheeses, salamis, hams etc. These are found in the stalls in the lower part of the old town, where you then you work your way up to the the top part with its breathtaking view overlooking the Tuscan countryside. The view is reserved for the special stalls – they literally have red velvet carpeting – to showcase the don of the truffles: the white truffle. These are weighed on chrome scales and if you’re really keen on them – you can take them away with you for about $200+ per 100g. We bought a tiny piece and had it with butter and parmesan tagliatelle that night. So so good!
Italy has all types of food fairs year-round and nationwide. They call them Sagras and they can be devoted to anything from cherries, fish, tagliatelle, pumpkin ravioli.. anything really. I’ve had some of my best meals with sporks and plastic plates at these fairs. As a bonus they’re usually held in the pretty piazzas of old, picturesque towns. All the English sites only seem to have dates for the big food expos but this translatable Italian one is pretty good.