Summer is truffle hunting season in the Umbrian countryside - The author Elizabeth Minchilli shares the secrets of a hunt for summer truffles in “Eating My Way Through Italy”


What I had was a pound of summer truffles (tuber aestivum vitt). And as I soon learned not all truffles are created equal. As it turns out these truffles are readily “findable” all over Umbria, from the end of May to the end of August. And the thing that makes them easier to find compared to their more expensive fall and winter cousins, is their intense smell, which also makes them perfect for cooking. While the more prized varieties may have a more intense taste, the aroma of the summer truffles stands up to heat, which makes it a favorite with chefs both local and not. But you do have to use quite a few to make an impact—which explained Marisa’s gracious gift of plenty.

To get the full effect you have to use a heavy hand. The locals know this, and you will never see them shaving them onto anything, unless it’s as a final garnish. They use them by the handful, and treat them almost like a vegetable. An expensive vegetable, but a vegetable.

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