Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

The white truffle shuffle

In the hills of Pisa, Tuscany, stands San Miniato, a historic town whose fortifications and battlements come alive once a year with cries of joy and delight as the annual White Truffle Festival gets into full swing. One of the food world’s most prized delicacies, truffles are essentially a fungus that grows on certain types of tree when conditions are right. And white truffles are some of the world’s rarest, growing only in small parts of Italy.

San Miniato’s festival brings truffle-lovers the world over to gaze at and consume the latest offerings, whether elbow to elbow at the table or jostling at the auction. White truffles may be small, but they can command some epic prices. The current record price paid for a single white truffle sold in 2007 is $330,000. The One of the largest truffles found in decades, it was sniffed out by a local man walking his dog and weighed in at 1.5 KG. So keep an eye out next time you’re out wandering the Tuscan woods, you could find some hidden treasure.