There are a million reasons to go on a holiday to Italy, and a visit to explore the magical region of Tuscany is a very good one. This stunning area welcomes visitors from all over the world looking to experience the famous ‘dolce vita’ and soak up the expansive history and culture that oozes from its picturesque pores. |
When it comes to the best things to do in Tuscany, if you’re a foodie, sampling the region’s famous truffles is definitely a very appealing prospect. The area produces an abundance of these earthy gourmet gems, and to taste them at the source is a genuinely memorable privilege.
Get to Know the Tuscan Truffles
As one of the most popular things to do in Tuscany, you won’t have any difficulty finding ways to taste-test some of the local truffles, but it can be very helpful to have a little knowledge ahead of time about the different varieties that grow around the area. And, while you might not get to stroll through the woods and discover them in-situ for yourself, there are plenty of restaurants that serve them up in a multitude of ways.
The most prized variety of the region is one that’s also known as the ‘king’, or ‘noble’ – the white truffle, so named for its yellowish outer layer. While it’s very rare, and can vary greatly in size and colour, once you’ve tasted it (or, for that matter simply smelled it), you’ll never forget this beauty. These are in season from around mid-October to the end of December.
As the name suggests, these are also light in colour, most often tending to be reddish-gold on the outside and paler on the inside. They display a strong flavour of garlic and are used extensively in the local cuisine. Because they grow in great abundance they’re not as highly prized as the one above.
At the other end of the colour spectrum comes the wrinkly black version that smells divine and delivers a magnificent flavour to a wide range of dishes. It’s not a particularly attractive specimen, with its black, warty outer layer, but inside, the dark purple pulp holds a wealth of delights. These are in season from November to March and are much sought after.
Another of the black versions, this one is found all over the region in great numbers and is renowned for its intense, lingering aroma and taste. The outer layer is covered with small sharp points and the pulp is a dark chocolate colour with lots of veins.
Finally, another black version, the Scorzone is defined by its pale yellow pulp and flavours of traditional mushroom. It comes in all sizes and is also commonly found around the region.
One of the Best Things to Do in Tuscany
If you manage to find a way to go truffle hunting in person while you’re looking for things to do in Tuscany, lucky you! But if not, never fear, because the most enjoyable part of the exercise is in the eating – which you’ll find many and varied ways of doing. Even the most humble of restaurants will have one or multiple dishes using this characteristic ingredient, so prepare for your tastebuds to be dazzled.
Mauro Bramante is the Director of WalkAbout Florence, an independent business offering unforgettable tours and excursions around Italy including the best things to do in Tuscany. Whether you want to ride a Vintage Vespa, try the famous Chianti wine or get cooking with fresh local ingredients, Mauro's company promises excitement, adventure and above all, fun. If you're keen to experience the magic of Italy with the help of some passionate and knowledgeable tour guides, look no further than WalkAbout Florence for your next getaway.
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