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More than a quarter of Italy's white truffles come from the small town of San Miniato. Located just west of Florence, this charming region puts on a number of truffle-themed events and festivals during the fall, when pickings are at their prime, attracting mushroom lovers from across the world to explore the forests with the help of a pig's acute nose and local expertise. If you're taking a tour of Italy this autumn and want to get your truffle fix, there's no better place to go than San Miniato.
What's the big deal with white truffles?
At thousands of dollars a pound, white truffles are among the most expensive crops out there, and for good reason. Not only are they extremely rare and hard to find, they're incredibly delicious. Akin to diamonds, white truffles are a precious commodity in the culinary world, and each year has unfortunately brought a smaller crop due to the product's growing popularity and changing environment.
In an interview with TIME Magazine, New York City chef Tom Colicchio describes this unique fungus and his reasons for using it in so many of his dishes.
"I love all the mushrooms that I cook with, but white truffles are something completely different," he told the news source. "There's nothing else like them."
How San Miniato does truffles
While white truffle season starts in early October, San Miniato celebrates the harvest in November with weekend-long festivals and culinary events during which the precious mushroom takes center stage. San Martino, the town's main square, will be filled with food and craft stands every weekend. Although you won't be sampling truffles for free, you can watch cooking demonstrations just in case you find yourself splurging on the fungus.
The best truffle restaurant
There's no better place to enjoy every aspect of white truffles than Ristorante Canapone, which offers a full menu of mushroom-filled dishes. You don't have to wait for November to feast on the delicacy, as this restaurant provides a full menu throughout the year. Reservations are a must at this popular eatery, so you may want to call to claim a spot before embarking on your Italy tour.
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