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Posted on Tuesday 31 July 2012 in Italy
White truffles are one of the rarest foods in the world, growing only in specific climates by the most acute noses and becoming increasingly harder to find. In 2009, a mere three-quarters of a kilogram sold for an astonishing $150,000 USD. If that's any indicator to how delicious it is, culinary experts provide brutally honest descriptions of what exactly makes this fungus so desirable.
"There's no question that white truffles have a unique aroma," writes TIME Magazine contributor Josh Ozersky, "a combination of newly plowed soil, burrowing earthworms and the pungent memory of lost youth and old love affairs."
Once diners get past the strong smell, their taste buds are treated to a sublime and complex series of flavours that can only be described as one of a kind.
San Miniato: Italy's white truffle capital
The small Italian town of San Miniato, located about an hour away from Florence, grows about a quarter of the country's white truffles and puts on a number of culinary festivals during the month of November, when harvest season is in full swing. Aussies can follow the region's truffle harvesters, which are in fact pigs with highly tuned noses, through the dense forests as the four-legged creatures forage through piles of mossy leaves to uncover the rare edible.
Aussies should stop in the town's tourism office before deciding which festival to attend - many events are sporadic and are subject to change throughout the month without warning.
Travellers don't have to limit their mushroom-filled holiday to November, as San Miniato's restaurants offer decadent menu items throughout the year. Additionally, the town itself is brimming with examples of Roman history, including Caritas Diocesana, a centuries-old cathedral with Romanesque exterior architecture and a stunning interior. When visitors step inside the cathedral, they're met with a grand apse hallway with ceiling-high archways and impeccable marble columns.
Take in the scenery at Hotel Miravalle
Hotel Miravalle is an ideal resting spot for Aussies enjoying luxury travel expeditions, particularly because of the indulgent spa facilities and panoramic views of the region. With elegant rooms and a top-rated restaurant on the first floor, truffle hunters will be in good hands should they decide to book a few nights here.
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