Tuscany’s temperate climate and diverse terrain provide the perfect conditions for truffles to flourish. The region is particularly renowned for two types of truffles: the precious white truffle and the flavourful black truffle. Truffle hunters, also known as trifolau, have honed their skills over generations, passing down their knowledge and techniques from one family member to the next. They were the subject of the wonderful and quirky documentary The Truffle Hunters (2020), directed by Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw.
Among other things, the film explores the special bond between trifolau and their trusty four-legged friends, usually specially trained dogs. The relationship between the two is integral to truffle hunting success. With an acute sense of smell, these canine companions are invaluable in detecting the distinct aroma emitted by truffles, guiding the hunters to their hidden treasures.
Truffle hunting is not merely a culinary pursuit; it is an ingrained part of Tuscan culture. The excitement of the hunt, the thrill of discovery, and the camaraderie shared among truffle hunters speak to a deeply entrenched sense of community and tradition that resonates powerfully and speaks of a different time when we were much closer to the natural world. Which is not to say that there aren’t rivalries of course! Truffles are both difficult to find and can be incredibly expensive, so trifolau guard their favourite hunting grounds jealously – and their dogs too!
Today, truffle hunting in Tuscany has evolved into a unique experience that visitors to Tuscany can partake of too, offering you the chance to venture into the idyllic countryside with skilled hunters and witness the thrill of unearthing these gastronomic gems – before sampling them of course! As this time-honoured tradition persists, truffle hunting remains a cherished practice that celebrates the bountiful gifts of the Tuscan land and the cultural heritage of the region.
Truffle Hunting season runs from June to November – though the prized white truffles or Tartufo Bianco are only found from September onwards. We highly recommend you experience the hunt for yourselves the next time you visit Karma Borgo di Colleoli – or at the very least taste them, grated over your pasta. A great time would be on 21 July when we are hosting a very special Karma Curated weekend complete with live opera performances in the beautiful outdoors.