Learn How To Grow Truffles For Profit And To Eat Yourself

Truffle Millionaire

This special information explains exactly how you go about growing and selling truffles, it's simple instructions that you can follow to set yourself up as a successful truffle grower. Truffles are perfectly legal and can be grown in all countries of the world and we will show you how to pick your truffle variety to take advantage of your local environment. There's always been a high demand for truffles and that demand is only going to increase year on year. Learn how you can grow and sell truffles on any small area of land and at up to $500 Usd per truffle you can make good money. Learn how to grow and sell your own truffles. The benefits are: High Demand, any truffle you grow will fetch a premium price. Cash crop, makes money year after year. You do the work once and make money every year, expand your truffle business or just enjoy the profits.

Truffle Millionaire Overview

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Truffle Hunting

The Parco Regional Fiume Nera in the Valnerina is another of Umbria's important black truffle centers. Watch for the precious black truffles in dishes all over the region between November and March. In and around Amelia, try Anita (Via Roma, s 0744-982146, closed Mon, ) or Da Emma (Loc. Montenero, s 0744-882462, closed Tues, ) for typical Amerino dishes, especially game. Up in Avigliano Umbro, you can get tasty agnello tartufato (truffle-stuffed lamb) and pollo alla cacciatore (hunter-style chicken) in the intimate La Casareccia (Strada di Pian dell'Ara 69a, s 0744-933482, closed Mon, ) or excellent fresh pasta, lamb and wild boar dishes at Meridiana (Via Matteotti 35, s 0744-933104, closed Tues ).

Truffle Time

Buried beneath Piedmont's forests are treasure troves of tartufi (truffles). These mysterious fungi cannot be cultivated, hence the vast sums and cloak-and-dagger secrecy surrounding the truffle trade. Also known as Tuber magnatum, truffles are formed by an exchange of amino acids between the roots of certain trees (including poplar, willow, oak and lime) and specific soil types. Humidity forms mould and ultimately the truffle mushroom. The truffles' growth depends on factors such as soil type and quality, as well as rainfall. Truffle hunters use specially trained dogs to ferret them out. Even this dog-training is an art - the castle at Roddi, near Alba, is home to the Universita dei Cani da Tartufo (Truffle Dog University), established in 1880 and run today by the founder's great-grandson. Piedmont harbours both black and white truffles, which are only available fresh shortly after they've been unearthed, as they decay rapidly. Black truffles, which come in 'summer' and more potent...

Taste of Tuscany Umbria

Another popular, and expensive, Tuscan and Umbrian garnish is the tartufo, or truffle. It's a fungal tuber (read mushroom) that grows inexplicably around the roots of certain trees in certain soils under certain conditions that have for centuries baffled the food industry desperate to farm these lucrative little buggers. Natural truffles come in both black (rare) and white (exceedingly rare) varieties, and they turn up in only very few areas of the world. Tuscany and Umbria are blessed to have both kinds growing underfoot, the black in many areas, especially Spoleto, and the white around San Miniato in Tuscany and Gubbio in Umbria. Fall is truffle season.

Traditional Foods In Botswana

A fungus that grows on the Grewia flavia bush is related to the European truffle. In San mythology, these so-called Kalahari truffles are thought to be the eggs of the lightning bird because their presence is revealed by rings of cracked soil around the bush after electrical storms. The bush itself produces a small shrivelled berry, used locally to make kgadi wine. The nutritious and protein-rich mongongo nut, similar to the cashew, is eaten raw or roasted, and has historically been a staple for some San groups.

Enclave Des Papes Around

Shaped like one of the truffles for which the area is famed, the bumpy ball of land constituting the Enclave des Papes has been part of the Vaucluse since 1791 despite being buried within the Dr me d partement. Its extrication today is a result of the refusal of French king Charles VII (r 1422-61) to sell any ofhis kingdom to the papacy, leaving this enclave, with a diameter of less than 20km, in the hands of the Pope from 1318 until the French Revolution.

The Foothills Expensive

Italianate building overlooking the city, exudes Southwestern elegance. The waiters are smartly attired in tuxedos, and guests are nearly as well dressed. In such a rarefied atmosphere, you'd expect only the finest meal and service, and that's exactly what you get. The duck mousse and black truffle terrine is a fitting beginning, followed by the likes of chateaubriand with b arnaise sauce. Wine is not just an accompaniment but also a reason for dining out at Anthony's at more than 100 pages, the wine list may be the most extensive in the city. Don't miss out on the next best part of a meal here (after the wine) the day's souffl (order early).

Shopping Adventures Tours

Shop like a Parisian with Chic Shopping Paris (s 06 14 56 23 11, www.chicshoppingparis.com), a custom-tailored shopping service by bilingual American Francophiles David, Nicole and Rebecca. Whether it's the finest French linens, one-of-a-kind gifts or the best chocolate truffles in town, these guides can help you find it. They have a selection of themed tours such as Made in France and Tr s Tasty, or a tour can be customized based on a client's taste and budget. Reasonably priced at just 75 for a four- to five-hour tour, guides also provide lively sightseeing commentary during the tours, and can recommend their favorite restaurants and caf s (all completely unbiased - the guides don't receive commissions).

Shopping in Ouray and Silverton

During summer, Ouray's Main Street is a bustling shopping area. When you're there, don't miss the Salsa Trade Company ( 970-325-4562) at 640 Main Street. It has a wall's worth of little-known hot sauces with names like Third-Degree Burn, Nuclear Waste, and See Spot in Heat. At 520 Main St., you find Mouse's Handmade Truffles ( 877-7WE-SHIP), a store that fills two critical needs for travelers gourmet chocolate and inexpensive ( 5 per hour) Internet access.

Piedmont the Valle dAosta

Loosely translated, Piedmont (Piemonte) means at the foot of the mountains. Those mountains, of course, are the Alps, which define the region and are part of Italy's northern and western borders. These dramatic peaks are visible in much of the province, most of which rises and rolls over fertile foothills that produce a bounty that is as rich as the region is green. Piedmont is a land of cheeses, truffles, plump fruit, and, of course, wine among which are some of Italy's most powerful, complex, and delicious reds, including Barolo and Barbaresco, lighter reds Barbera and Dolcetto, and Italy's top sparkling white, Asti Spumanti.

The Upper East Side Very Expensive

The menu is heavy with game dishes in elegant but unfussy preparations, plus Daniel signatures like black sea bass in a crisp potato shell, with tender leeks and a light Syrah sauce. Excellent starters include foie gras terrine with fennel confit and dried apricot compote, and rosemary and blood orange glazed endive. Sublime entrees may include spit-roasted and braised organic guinea hen with black truffle butter, or chestnut-crusted venison with sweet potato pur e. But you can't really go wrong with anything the kitchen doesn't take a false turn. The wine list is terrific and, divided between seasonal fruits and chocolates the desserts are uniformly excellent. Dining in the pleasing lounge is a great way to sample the master's marvelous cuisine without laborious advance planning or succumbing to formality, since the jacket-and-tie dress code for men is not enforced.

Where To Dine Expensive

Day, the menu might include chicken breast with fresh asparagus and vinaigrette of pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan, and truffle oil a fabulous black-bean ratatouille with filet of steak or smoked squid with bacon fries. For dessert, choose something with wow appeal, like a chocolate souffl . And cap off your night with a drink downstairs at The Harbour Bar, also owned by McAlpin.

From the Cucina Italiana Food Wine

Italians pay careful attention to the basics in both shopping and preparation. They know, for instance, which region produces the best onions or choicest peppers and when is the prime time of year to order porcini mushrooms, asparagus, truffles, or wild boar. If they're dining out, Italians expect the same

Benedictine Celebrations

The Big Daddy of Black Truffle Fairs When Norcia's Mostra del Tartufo (Truffle Fair) hits the city streets on the last weekend of every February, stands buckle under the weight of produce brought in from near and far, and producers are heard crying the merits of their specialties and gastronomic treats - including the town's famous prosciutto, sausages and spiced salamis. But the black truffle takes pride of place. This delicious and relatively cheap truffle variety (generally considered inferior to the white truffle) provides the city streets with a potent aroma and its dishes (especially pastas) with a splash of spice. Rummage around the stands and then head into a nearby trattoria to try some yourself.

Sinful Soho Dens of Delicious Iniquity

The most venerable patisserie is Maison Bertaux, 28 Greek St., W1 (& 020 7437-6007), and I defy you to pass by its delectable window without wanting to dunk a brioche in a cup of coffee. Patisserie Valerie, 44 Old Compton St., W1 (& 020 7437-3466), is the place to gawk at greedy film and theater types who've fallen for its chocolate truffle cake. The crowds are smaller at Amato, 14 Old Compton St., W1 (& 020 7734-5733), but its alcoholic chocolate-and-coffee mousse cake is to die for.

Moments The Delectable Delights of Soho

Patisserie Valerie, 44 Old Compton St., W1 (& 020 7437-3466), is the place to gawk at greedy film and theater types who've fallen for its chocolate truffle cake. The crowds are smaller at Amato, 14 Old Compton St., W1 (& 020 7734-5733), but its alcoholic chocolate-and-coffee mousse cake is to die for.

Central Phoenix The Camelback Corridor Very Expensive

Mary Elaine's (Sdd FRENCH There quite simply is no place else in Arizona to compare with Mary Elaine's. Situated atop the posh Phoenician resort, this elegant restaurant is the pinnacle of Arizona dining not only for its haute cuisine, but also for its award-winning wine list (and master sommelier), exemplary service, and superb table settings (Austrian crystal, French silver, and Wedgwood china). Chef Bradford Thompson has worked both with famed New York restaurateur Daniel Boulud and Phoenix's own Vincent Guerithault. Thompson's menu focuses on classic French cuisine with an emphasis on impeccably fresh ingredients, and foie gras, truffles, lobster, and Beluga caviar all make frequent appearances. Menus change seasonally, and there are also themed tasting menus. Try to make a reservation that allows you to take in the sunset. At the Phoenician, 6000 E. Camelback Rd. & 480 423-2530. Reservations highly recommended. Jackets required for men. Main courses 42- 48 4-course dinner 85...

Where To Dine Very Expensive

Embassy EUROPEAN When you take a Michelin star chef (Gary Hollihead) and put him in a seven star hotel, you get Embassy, based on the London outpost of the same name. The restaurant lounge nightclub is super-chic, fusing Arab design elements with touchstones of Embassy London's look glasswork, marble, gold, and silver abound and there's also a small outdoor terrace. The menu changes regularly, but the focus remains on seafood with starters such as lobster ravioli with seafood minestrone and entrees such as monkfish tail with sauteed goat-cheese gnocchi. Non-seafood fans can choose from a variety of beef dishes such as Venison Wellington with foie gras and truffles vegetarians should probably eat elsewhere.

Southern Eastern Piedmont

The bucolic hills, valleys and townships of southern and eastern Piedmont are a gourmand's dream. Bursting with some of Italy's finest fresh produce, including unusually sweet hazelnuts, rare white truffles, and grapes crushed and fermented into world-class wines, the area is blessed with rich regional culinary traditions. As such, it's the headquarters of a number of seminal institutions - the Slow Food Movement, the University of Gastronomic Sciences and the International Culinary School for Foreigners (training chefs to work at Italian restaurants around the world) are all based here. Even the tiniest of hamlets boasts outstanding restaurants and wine cellars.

Tips Dog Days of August

Partita a Scacchi con Personnagi Viventi (Living Chess Game), Marostica. This chess game is played in the town square by living pawns in period costume. The second Saturday and Sunday of September during even-numbered years. October Sagra del Tartufo, .Alba, Piedmont. The truffle is the honoree in Alba, the truffle capital of Italy, with contests, truffle-hound competitions, and tastings of this ugly but precious and delectable (and expensive) fungus. Two weeks in mid-October. Maratona (Marathon), Venice. The marathon starts at Villa Pisani on the mainland, runs alongside the Brenta Canal, and ends along the Zattere for a finish at the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute on the tip of Dorsoduro. For details, call & 041-950-644. Usually the last Sunday of October. November Festa della Salute, Venice. For this festival, a pontoon bridge is erected across the Grand Canal to connect the churches of La Salute and Santa Maria del Giglio, commemorating another delivery from a plague in...

Sweet Treats Torontos Dessert Cafes

Demetre Caffe In the heart of Greektown on the Danforth, Demetre is known for its Old World ambience as well as its sweets Belgian waffles, oversized sundaes, cakes, tortes, and baklava. It's popular at all hours of the evening with a casual crowd, and on weekends it draws families. Closing time is midnight Sunday through Thursday, and 3am Friday and Saturday. 400 Danforth Ave. & 416 778-6654. Subway Broadview. Desserts by Phipps The cafe serves salads and sandwiches, but what really draw the crowds are the decadent desserts. Cappuccino chiffon cake is a direct hit, as are the moist but not gooey apple confections. 420 Eglinton Ave. W. & 416 481-9111. Subway Eglinton. Dufflet Pastries On menus around town, you'll sometimes see mention of desserts by Dufflet. Divine is the word that best applies to these confections. Owner Dufflet Rosenberg bakes some of the most delectable tortes, tarts, and pastries in the city. The problem is deciding where to start. Chocolate raspberry...

Carnival Fleet Itineraries

DINING Food is bountiful, and the cuisine is traditional American Red meat is popular on these ships. Recent improvements have led to some surprisingly good preparations in the dining room, including fine renditions of old favorites, such as beef Wellington and duck a l'orange. In addition, they do delicious preparations of more nouveau dishes such as broiled Chilean sea bass with truffle butter, and smoked turkey tenderloin with asparagus tips. Broiled lobster is featured 1 night on each cruise. Special menus are offered in Alaska featuring salmon and other local ingredients. Health-conscious, pasta, and vegetarian options are offered nightly. Meals are served at assigned tables, with two seatings per meal. The casual lunch buffets include Chinese, deli, and pizza stations and the breakfast buffet, in the same location La Playa Grill, on Lido Deck offers everything from made-to-order egg dishes to cold cereals and pastries. Many passengers prefer to eat these meals in La Playa rather...

Beyond Downtown Expensive

His restaurant is for the kind of diner who loves exciting food, surprises, and beautiful plates of new tastes and textures the meals are about the food, sharing bites, and saying Wow, and How did he do that I won't call it experimental, because I've never had a meal here that wasn't perfect, but the cuisine is highly eclectic and there's often only one item on the changing menu that isn't unusual or challenging the superb pepper steak. Like everything else, the steak dish also has a complex and memorable sauce. The wine list is exceptional and reasonably priced, and you can sip your selection while dining inexpensively on appetizers in a pleasant bar area try the incredible spinach ravioli with Gorgonzola, for example. Desserts are sublime, such as the chocolate dome, which is made up of layers of chocolate fudge truffle and black raspberry dark chocolate, and served with fudge sauce. The dining room is light and clean, decorated with modern art. Service is highly...

The Inner City Central Pest Expensive

Pava F ITALIAN The restaurant of Budapest's truly world-class hotel must be elegant and suave at the same time, and this one is both. While the atmosphere here is a tad stiff, the dining experience is memorable. Make sure you leave yourself a lot of time to enjoy the Pava, however, which serves really great Italian cuisine this is a 3-hour, six-course meal, and if you are lucky the friendly Italian restaurant manager Andrea Colla will guide you through a dinner in which four kinds of wines are served. We started with warm baby artichoke with provolone cheese and arugula served with a light balsamic dressing. Then came the best part of the feast a porcini and truffle cappuccino with wild mushrooms and taleggio toast which was basically a mushroom soup, but exquisite and truly memorable. Next was a pumpkin and scampi risotto, which was followed by a bitter and truly unsavory grenade apple and Campari gratine. It was supposed to guide us into the main course, but it just didn't work. The...

Discovering the Best of San Francisco

No matter how the economy fares, San Francisco consistently rates as one of the top tourist destinations in the world, and it's no secret why. The city's treasured cable cars provide both thrills and great views as they whiz down and around our hills a majestically golden bridge suspends travelers over the deep blue of the bay hidden staircases lead to lovely gardens and eye-catching homes. And where else can you savor freshly made miniature chocolate truffles, meander down the most crooked street in the world, and escape from Alcatraz all in one action-packed day

Shopping the Hebridean Islands

Ii Tobermory Handmade Chocolate, Main Street, Tobermory, Mull ( 01688-302-526 www.tobchoc.co.uk). This chocolatier makes unique handmade confections locally, whether 71 percent pure dark-chocolate treats (such as a rum truffle) or after-dinner mints. Open March to October Monday through Saturday from 9 30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in July and August.

A journey into the wonders of handicraft from Albisola

The hard work done by peasants over the past centuries has contributed to a great heritage made of kilometers of terraced walls and modern greenhouse systems enabling the rational utilization of the fertile coastal plains. The genuineness of agricultural products in the Riviera delle Palme equals their freshness and excellence flowers, either in pot or cut, exported to all European countries, Albenga's artichokes, early produces and basil, the main ingredient of the local sauce pesto. Woodland offers chestnuts, mushrooms and, in the Bormida Valley, also delicious truffles bees produce excellent honey. Last, but not least, wine and oil white wines such as the Pigato or the Vermentino red wines such as the Rossese under the certified area of production (DOC) Riviera Ligure di Ponente and the typical geographical designation (IGT) Colline Savonesi, whereas the extra virgin olive oil, registered under the origin designation (DOP) Riviera del Ponente Savonese is the ideal raw dressing to...

Bainbridge Island Poulsbo

If you have time and enjoy visiting historic towns, continue north from Poulsbo on Wash. 3 to Port Gamble, which looks like a New England village dropped down in the middle of the Northwest woods. This community was established in 1853 as a company town for the Pope and Talbot lumber mill. Along the town's shady streets are Victorian homes that were restored by Pope and Talbot. Stop by the Port Gamble Country Store, which now houses the Port Gamble Historical Museum (& 360 297-8074), a collection of local memorabilia. Admission is 2.50 for adults and 1.50 for seniors and students (children 5 and under are free). From May 1 to October 31, the museum is open daily from 10 30am to 5pm the rest of the year, it's open by appointment. The same location is home to the Of Sea and Shore Museum (& 360 297-2426), which houses an exhibit of seashells from around the world. This museum is open daily from 9am to 5pm, and admission is free. While in Port Gamble, don't miss LaLa Land Chocolates...

Liguria Piedmont Valle dAosta

Piedmont's gentler green hills are also ribboned with grapevines, producing prestigious reds and sparkling whites. The region's hazelnuts, white truffles and cheeses inspired the Slow Food Movement's inception here. A baroque showpiece of arcaded walkways and squares, revitalised Turin entranced international audiences when it hosted the 2006 Winter Olympics and later took on the mantle of Europe's Capital of Design, showcasing its industry and artistry. Turin now has one eye on its upcoming role hosting the sesquicentenary of the Italian unification, which took place in the city, making it Italy's inaugural capital.

Buried Fungal Treasure

Believe it or not truffles, those precious, pungent, underground fungi so beloved of Italian and French gourmands, are also found in the barren plains of Egypt's northern coastline. Terfeziaceae, or desert truffles, are endemic to the sort of arid and semiarid regions found throughout the Middle East and North Africa's Mediterranean coast. Apparently, these tasty delicacies have been known to Arabs for thousands of years (by their classical name kamaa). It's also believed that the Pharaohs of Egypt sampled them on occasion, and the caliphs of Cairo were known to have a nibble as well. The flavour of the desert truffle, known as terfas to the Bedouin, is slightly less intense than its European counterpart, but tends to be more affordable since it is more abundant. Local belief has it that the fungus only grows wherever lightning strikes the desert. The lightning bit might be a bit of a stretch, but terfas do require a minimal amount of rain to germinate. Desert truffles are prepared...

Hautemariue

Truffle ice cream and contrary to what I was expecting, it was curiously delicious) and opted for more traditional fare. Truffles are scarce and therefore expensive fetching between 300 ( 208.50) and 350 ( 243.29) per kilo on the often far from 'open market' but just a few shavings of this odd little growth, which looks like a wizened black lychee, imparts a powerful and indescribable taste to virtually anything. Witness the 68 ( 47.26) Truffle Menu M Gennevoizjsack in the hotel kitchen preparing some dishes made with truffles M Gennevoizjsack in the hotel kitchen preparing some dishes made with truffles pungent aroma of these inoffensive looking but nevertheless lethal aromatic bombs. Secondly, returning home and shaving a few fragments into an omelette yielded the most fabulous breakfast. The remaining truffles are now in the freezer - again, triple wrapped. process it is too. R glisse was constantly charging backwards and forwards with his nose pressed firmly to the ground and we...

Black Diamonds

Provence's cloak-and-dagger truffle trade - operated out of a car boot, with payment exclusively by cold, hard cash - is a real black business. Little known Richerenches, a deceptively wealthy village shielded within the thick walls of a 12th- to 13th-century Templar fortress, is the congruous setting for Provence's leading wholesale market for the far-from-appetising-looking fungus. Once a year villagers celebrate a truffle Mass in the village church, during which parishioners offer up truffles instead of cash donations. The Mass falls on the closest Sunday to 17 January, the feast day of Antoine, the patron saint of truffle harvesters. Contact Richerenches' Point Tourisme ( 04 90 2805 34 www.richerenches.frin French rue du Campanile S 2-6.30pm Mon, 9am-12.30pm & 2-6.30pm Tue-Fri, 9.30am-12.30pm Sat) for details. Crisp, cold Saturday mornings during the truffle season (November to March) see av de la Rebasse - Richerenches' main street - resound with the furtive whisperings of...

Les Diamants Noirs

From walnuts to strawberries, cepe (porcini) mushrooms, foie gras and chanterelles, the Dordogne is famous for its gourmet goodies. But for true culinary connoisseurs there's only one ingredient that matters, and that's the diamant noir - otherwise known as the black truffle. A subterranean fungi that grows naturally in chalky soils (often around the roots of oak and hazelnut trees), this mysterious little mushroom is notoriously capricious a good truffle spot one year can be inexplicably bare the next, which has made farming them on any kind of serious scale practically impossible. The art of truffle-hunting is a closely guarded secret it's a matter of luck, judgment and hard-earned experience, and serious truffle hunters often employ specially trained dogs (and sometimes even pigs) to help them in the search. But it's not simply a matter of culinary perfection -truffles are seriously big business, with a vintage crop fetching as much as 850 a kilogram. The height of truffle season...

Chiens Truffiers

Here is a well-loved and often-told story that illustrates the importance and value of a good truffle hound. Once upon a time, a truffle poacher was caught in the act by the owner of the land on which he was poaching. The poacher had brought his wife with him that night, anticipating a good haul. But it was not to be. Suddenly, after an hour or two of fruitful poaching, the two of them, together with their dog, found themselves trapped in the glare of the owner's flashlight. Escape was discouraged by the owner, who had his shotgun trained on them. And since this was not the first time his truffles had been stolen, he was in no mood to be merciful. Under questioning (with some persuasive jabs of the shotgun), the poacher admitted that he had visited this particular piece of land many times before and had taken kilos of truffles, worth a small fortune. The owner said nothing. The only sound, in the still of the night, was the click of the shotgun's hammer as it was cocked. The poacher...

In The Oltrarno

Osteria Santo Spirito NOUVELLE TUSCAN Some of the hippest dining in the Oltrarno fills these deep-red rooms with undulating track lighting stacked on top of each other. Funk and dance music pounds from the speakers as they serve up excellent dishes with a modern twist. You can start with a salad like pollo pinoli e uvetta con dressing (chicken, pine nut, and raisin), or for pasta try orecchiette Santo Spirito (pasta in spicy tomato sauce with ricotta) or gnocchi di patate gratinati (oven-baked gnocchi swimming in a bubbling hot mix of soft cheeses flavored with truffle). Afterward, fill up on filetto di manzo h tartufo (beef filet with truffles) or the coscie d'anatre con lapanna (very meaty roasted duck in cream sauce with carrots and bacon). ultratraditional Florentine food. It fills up very early with food-loving Florentines, who choose from an always-changing menu that may include penne alla Bettola in spicy cream tomato sauce, rigatoni dressed with crushed olives, or riso sulle...

All The Joys T

After the battle came the season of fruitfulness. All the more beautiful as the struggle was bitter. The olive oil here carries the distant scent of the Mediterranean. The vines have sought out the best in soils that don't yield their nutrients easily. The lavender works first on the eye, then the nose, like the truffles, the goat's cheeses, the honey, the walnuts, the courgette flowers A hundred markets can offer up, each day of the year, an incredible inventory of Drome delights. The locals call It 'la rabasse' In the Drome's Tricastin, the leading French area for that capricious little marvel of nature, the truffle, a delight in local markets and meals. You may find a slither in many a dish, from the simplest to the most elaborate - always a great treat.

Discovering Piedmont

Head southwest for Saluzzo (p228), a pretty medieval town at the beginning of one of several enticing valleys that meander west into the French Alps - an option worth following if you love nature and have some extra time. East of Saluzzo you enter serious gastronome territory - the Langhe hills. The nerve centre of this prestigious wine-making area is Alba (p229), famed for its red wines and white truffles. With your own wheels you can explore the villages that give their names to some fine tipples and tasty meals, such as Barolo (p232) for noble reds or Cherasco (p230) for its gourmet snail dishes. To the north is Alba's medieval arch rival, Asti (p234), another wine centre (this time white). Still more reds are produced in the verdant Monferrato (p235) region to its north. Time your Piedmont parade with seasonal whims spring for hiking, winter for skiing or September for the wine, truffle and food festivals. This 480km round trip starting in the capital, Turin, could easily be...

The Monti Sabatini

SCORSONE, THE SUMMER TRUFFLE In the calcareous ground under the oaks, holm-oaks and hazels, it is possible to find a quality product of the Monti Sabatini, the Summer Truffle or Scorsone (Tuber Aestivium Vitt). The fruiting body varies in size from that of a nut to the that of a grapefruit, its pulp is beige in colour and becomes more intense as it ripens. It has a pleasant flavour and slight fragrance, it is less valuable than other varieties and it ripens from May to Autumn. If it is enjoyed while fresh, it should be considered a good truffle.

Chocolates

As tempting visually as they are gastronomically, and include an array of freshly made truffles flavored with kirsch or with marc de champagne. Any purchase can be shipped abroad. Seefeldstrasse 4. & 01 261-35-30. Teuscher Located on a narrow cobblestone street in Old Town, this small store is the original epicurean chocolate shop. You can tell you're in the area by the smell of chocolate truffles, which come in such flavors as champagne, orange, and cocoa. Storchengasse 9. & 01 211-51-53.

East Moriches

WHITE TRUFFLE INN White Truffle Inn is a lovely place for lunch, when you can enjoy the garden view and a bountiful salad or crab cake sandwich. Daily specials supplement the limited but excellence cuisine prepared by the owners Wally, master chef from Argentina, and his Uruguayan wife, Naomi, a pastry chef. (The couple met in New Jersey ) Open Wednesday-Sunday, for lunch and dinner.

Sweets

Candy Cauldron (& 407 828-1470), will satisfy you and your kids' sweet tooth with 200 temptations, such as fudge, caramel apples, cotton candy, chocolate candies and fruit, and truffles. This candy-coated heaven is open 10 30am to 11pm daily. On the candy side, Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop (& 407 934-8855), a branch of the famous San Francisco institution, sells truffles, double-chocolate mocha bars, and more. But Ghirardelli's is famous for its ice cream concoctions and if you've promised your kids fountain drinks, this is the place to come. Ghirardelli's has a tantalizing selection of cones, floats, shakes, malts, and ice-cream sodas. The hot fudge sundae here is a classic, though we like the one at the Plaza Restaurant (p. 117) in Magic Kingdom just a tad better. Hours are 9 30am to 11pm daily.

Carpentras

Wander into Place Aristide Briand in the center of Carpentras, any Friday morning between November and March and you will see small sacks of wrinkled black funghi being exchanged for astronomical prices. If you're up on celebrity chefs, you might spot a few of them as well. The Truffle Market, in Carpentras, has been held for hundreds ofyears. It's small and discreet - just a tiny section of the Friday market, which takes over most of the town center - but a magnet for connoisseurs. Brokers, n gociants and sellers from at least eight French d partements come to the Carpentras market to trade. About 50 of all the truffles sold in France are traded here. Even if you're not buying, it is fun to watch the cagey traders and their customers - and to enjoy the aroma. Place Aristide Briand, 8 to 10 am, Fridays from the end of November through March.

Db Bistro Moderne

Compared to Daniel Boulud's signature and formal restaurant Daniel (see listing earlier in this chapter), db Bistro Moderne is as casual as a burger joint. But casual means the models who dine here wear Armani T-shirts while digging into burgers that cost 29. Okay, so it's not your typical coffee-shop burger. Boulud's famous creation is made with minced sirloin, foie gras, preserved black truffle, and braised short ribs on a Parmesan onion roll. So casual may mean many things, but here it does not mean cheap. Despite the silly burger excess, the food is, like all Boulud's ventures, outstanding especially bistro favorites such as bouillabaisse, coq au vin, and frogs' legs.

Tips on Dining

Eastern European food is often maligned by Westerners who imagine that they will be dining exclusively on bread, potatoes, meat, and cabbage during a stay in Eastern Europe. Yes, the food in this region can be heavy, especially in places like Russia and Romania where the temperature can fall to arctic levels and stay there for a long time. But Eastern European food can be surprisingly light and sophisticated, like the delicate truffle dishes in Istria (Croatia) and other regional specialties.

Barolo La Morra

Made from Nebbiolo grapes, and aged in oak barrels for three to four years, the robust reds produced around Barolo (population 680), 20km southwest of Alba, are revered by critics, who describe them as 'velvety', 'truffle-scented with orange reflections' and the 'king of wine'.

At The Tides

An elegant menu and dramatic surroundings make dining at 1220 nothing short of sublime. Overlooking the beach and ocean, with the exquisite decor of the Tides Hotel as a backdrop, diners will delight in such entrees as steamed filet of sea bass in curry coconut broth with baby shiitake mushrooms roasted lamb chop atop flageolets (tiny French kidney beans) roasted Muscovy duck breast served with baked apple and roasted chicken breast with leeks and black truffles.

Italian

Bocca (Map pp70-1 641 2610 Olevimagi 9 meals 140-340Kr) Sophistication and style don't detract from the fresh, delectable cuisine served at this much-lauded restaurant. Creative dishes such as artichoke soup with grilled scallops, and baked monkfish in creamy fennel sauce with black truffles are matched to a strong wine list. Bocca also has a cosy lounge and bar, where Tallinn's A-list gathers over evening cocktails.

Buffets

The gnocchi with sauteed wild mushrooms, black truffle, and mushroom emulsion was the kind of dish clearly created by someone thoughtful and clever. A phyllo-wrapped baked pear and Roquefort cheese with a vinegar-and-port reduction was less salad (as it was billed) and more hot appetizer. The foie gras comes in a pink-grapefruit-and-citrus-honey reduction, a tangy combination. Fish can be a little dry here, so we suggest either the stunning New York steak with summer truffle jus and potato herb pancakes, or the meltingly tender lamb chops with some shredded lamb shank wrapped in a crispy fried crepe. Desserts are similarly outstanding and often of great frivolity, such as sorbet in a case of browned marshmallow, floating in raspberry soup. Yeah, we're going over the top on this one, but we bet you won't think we're wrong. In Palms Casino Resort, 4321 W. Flamingo Rd. & 702 951-7000. Fax 702 951-7002. www.allzelv.com. Reservations strongly recommended. Entrees 30- 67. AE, MC,V....

The top restaurants

Aubergine is one of London's top name restaurants, so you need to book weeks in advance. Chef William Drabble has earned a Michelin star for his delicate delivery of classy, contemporary French cuisine. Every dish, from fish and lighter-Mediterranean-style choices to assiette of veal with artichokes and watercress, is a culinary achievement of the highest order. Cap off your meal with the celebrated cappuccino of white beans with grated truffle. Service is polished and efficient.

Big Fish

It's not the most pastoral of settings, but the view is striking at Big Fish, tucked among the warehouses lining the Miami River downtown. While they sample fresh fish specialties, diners are treated to the sight ofcargo ships lumbering up the river alongside fishing boats and luxury yachts. Menu items include the daily catch, which might be yellowtail snapper, corvina or pan-seared tuna. For hearty appetites, there's the mixed fish grill, featuring half a lobster, calamari, shrimp, tuna and swordfish, while pasta lovers will appreciate the house special, tagliatelle Big Fish, featuring lobster in its shell and a sauce flavored with shellfish bisque and truffle butter.

Where To Dine

Bleu FRENCH BISTRO A sophisticated menu awaits diners at Bleu, the funky French bistro at bustling Mashpee Commons. Chef Frederic Feufeu (no kidding) brings a delicacy to dishes such as white truffle honey-glazed duck breast with mission figs and roasted filet mignon on sauteed potatoes. There are also fish and vegetarian choices. The wine list offers numerous choices by the glass and many well-priced choices. As you would expect for a French restaurant, the desserts are extra appealing.

Santa Croce

One of the best pizzerias trattorias in and around the historical center is the family-run Mastrociliegia (Via Palmieri 34r, s 055-293372, ), only a short walk from the Duomo in the direction of Teatro Verdi and Santa Croce. Its ongoing popularity with locals is a sure sign of its quality fare and charismatic welcome, with dishes of note including Cappello mastrociliegia (pasta with an asparagus, truffle and gorgonzola sauce), straccetti di vitello all'aceto (veal in a vinegar-based sauce), the classic coniglio fritto (fried rabbit) and some tasty wood-fired pizzas. Booking is recommended for the small terrace in summer. Just a little farther along the same road, non-smoking Trattoria il Giova (Via Borgo la Croce 73r, s 055-2480639, www.florence.ala.it giova, closed Sun, ), with its small dining room of only seven tables, allows an intimate insight into the eating culture of the Florentines who crowd in. Condiments and conversations spill onto neighboring tables between mouthfuls of...

Flavour

Couldn't be simpler Before long, the exotic and sophisticated dishes start to appear. Time is of no consequence when it comes to the finer things in life. Caviar, truffles, wild mushrooms, prawns. Perfection. Outside, tones of saffron, avocado and passion fruit in the form of flowers beckon. Go for a wander. The air suggests turning back. Possibly for a cup of tea accompanied by a slice of homemade cake, a pastry that melts in the mouth or a hot scone oozing with butter. Tea is not just served at 5, but at any hour where there is a demand for a moment to be savoured.

Days A Week

City's premier French restaurant, however, with its rich, classic dishes, game, truffles, the whole haute thing. It's in the Belden Hotel, just across the street from the Lincoln Park Conservatory across the lobby is Mon Ami Gabi, a boisterous and far more casual (and inexpensive) counterpoint serving updated bistro fare. Expect a chic crowd, waitstaff scurrying about in starched aprons, and enough Chanel No. 5 in the air that you'll think you're in Gay Paree. Far less boisterous but no less authentic is Le Bouchon, a tiny Bucktown hole-in-the-wall with simple framed pictures of France on the walls and a tin ceiling above. In December, you'll be subjected to really bad holiday music, but otherwise it's Edith Piaf on the Muzak and great French fare on your plate at Bistro 110, a handsome, busy Mag Miler. Meals start with a hot 'n' crusty baguette, ramekin of butter, and head of roasted elephant garlic heaven on earth. At Brasserie Jo, in River North, the food is as familiar and...

Nibbling Bliss

San Francisco has long attracted chocolate makers to its shores, not for any reason I know of, but there was Ghirardelli to start and Joseph Schmidt (of the beautiful truffles) and most recently a former doctor and a former winemaker who have together produced some serious dark chocolate under the Scharffen Berger label. Free one-hour tours of the handsome brick factory, located in Berkeley at 914 Heinz Ave. ( 510981-4050 www.scharffenberger.com), are offered by appointment daily at 10 30 a.m., 2 30 p.m., and 4 30 p.m. for people 10 and older. Scharffen Berger sells two gifts that I, for one, would be genuinely pleased to receive the 8 cylinder filled with chocolate-covered champagne grapes, or the 6 rectangular acrylic package of a dozen 5-gram squares (the mint flavor, if you're wondering).

Hauz Khas Area

La Piazza (Map pp92-3 26791234, ext 1310 Hyatt Regency, Bhikaiji Cama Pl, Ring Rd mains Rs 310-780 S noon-3pm & 7-11.30pm a) Long acclaimed for its Italian food, this is an upmarket choice if you're simply craving a perfect wood-fired pizza, ravioli with ricotta and pomodoro (tomato), or have the taste for truffles.

Strip House

For enormous portions of perfectly charred and seasoned red meat in a burlesquelike setting (complete with semi-nude, old-time stripper photos, which adorn the red velvet walls, roomy burgundy banquettes, and a steady flow of lounge music), visit the appropriately named Strip House. As soon as one of those steaks lands on your table, the semi-nudes quickly take a backseat to the enjoyable task in front of you devouring that meat. The signature strip steak still brings back fond memories, and you really can't go wrong with either the filet mignon or the porterhouse for two, carved at your table. The sides here are innovative variations on the standards creamed spinach with black truffles, French fries with herbs and garlic, and, best of all, the crisp goose fat potatoes. They sound scary, but they're worth the indulgence. Desserts are monumental especially the multi-layered chocolate cake so have your waiter bring extra forks for sharing. With the exception of those few previously...

Dining in Pamplona

Pamplona is pretty far north for a restaurant named for the Moorish palace in Granada, especially considering that the restaurant in question focuses mainly on regional Navarrese and Basque dishes. No matter. Now owned by the same local company that owns Hotel Leyre and Europa, Alhambra has long been a Pamplona favorite. For an appetizer, try a warm salad of foie gras and duck confit (duck cooked and preserved in its own fat). For a main course, the risotto of mushrooms, truffles, and shrimp is a winner. The various menus are good values.

South Of The Center

Most of the year, the restaurant accommodates only 45 diners, but in summer an outdoor terrace ringed with shrubs and flowers adds another 40 places. Amid a collection of upscale accoutrements and well-rehearsed service rituals, you can enjoy such inventive dishes as a cigar of foie gras with black truffles and sauterne aspic, roasted duck with honey-lemon sauce, lobster with a pur e of celery, lobster-studded potato salad with a leek-based cream sauce, stuffed squid with a confit of fennel, and young hen stuffed with shrimp. Dessert may include a gratin of wild strawberries with cannelloni stuffed with almond paste. You'll find almost anything you order irresistible within a setting that some of the most seasoned and jaded diners in the world have found utterly charming.

Selfcatering

Silky Oak Chocolate Company (Map p378 06845 0908 1131 Links Rd, Waiohiki S 9am-5pm Mon-Thu, 9am-4pm Fri, 10am-4pm Sat & Sun) Watch the chocolatiers at work while deliberating over mouth-watering truffles and chocolate rugby balls. The museum (adult child 8 5) offers a chocolate-drenched history and the odd ancient Mayan artefact. There's also a calorific caf .

Central

Restaurant are breathtaking, probably the best of any hotel restaurant on the Hong Kong side. The restaurant is decorated like a French castle, with the obligatory crystal chandeliers, statues, thick draperies, and murals gracing dome-shaped ceilings. The cuisine emphasizes contemporary Mediterranean French seasonal ingredients, and the menu changes often but has included such intriguing choices as black truffle soup with green asparagus and salsify, and roast Boston lobster served with fennel, morels, and tomato.

Damien Simonis

ALISON BING Here I am on the border of Lazio and Tuscany, purchasing half a priest's house no, really. My partner Marco's family is from the region, and this medieval town in truffle country immediately felt (and tasted) like home. We found and bought our place that afternoon.

Specialities

The Chocolate Society The Chocolate Society uses the venerated Valrhona in all its chocolates. This is 70 cocoa solids, more than three times a normal candy bar, so when you come into this little shop, stand and inhale the mouthwatering smell. Shelves groan with truffles, chocolate-dipped fruit, cakes, and more. 36 Elizabeth St., SW1. & 020 7259-9222. www.chocolate.co.uk.Tube Victoria, Sloane Sq. Condon Fishmongers (finds This place is truly scent-sational. Salmon, haddock, eels, cod's roe, and much more pass through the traditional smokehouse in the back of the store. Herrings turn into kippers here, creating the aroma of a traditional British breakfast. The store is closed after 1pm on Thursday, and on Sunday and Monday. 363 Wandsworth Rd., SW8. & 020 7622-2934. Tube Stockwell, then no. 77 bus.

Moments A Tasty Tour

In the 10,000-square-foot visitor center on the plantation, the tour continues with live demonstrations on roasting, sorting, brewing, and panning. The tour ends with a sample of Kona Joe Coffee and the brownies, truffles, and chocolate-covered coffee beans (yum-yum ) also sold there.

Croatian Cuisine

Istria and the Kvarner Gulf regions boast the most diverse cuisine in Croatia. In the Kvarner, try Creska janjetina (lamb from the island of Cres) and skampi (shrimp dishes) or try any of the game stews infused with bay leaves that grow in the mountainous part of Cres island. On Pag, sample Paski sir (Pag cheese), a unique salty sheep cheese infused with herbal notes because of the animals' diet of local vegetation, lamb, and prsut. In Istria, any dish with tartufe (truffles) is worth a try. Istarski fuzi sa gulasom od divljaci (pasta with game goulash) is sublime. Istria is also the source of some of Croatia's best wines. The main meal in Dalmatia typically starts with prsut and Pa ski sir scattered with olives and drizzled with oil. Kamenice (oysters) from the shellfish beds of Ston on the Peljesac Peninsula are prized, as is anything from the sea.

History

Chefs and pastry cooks adept in the subtleties of Italian Renaissance cooking. They introduced such delicacies as aspics, truffles, quenelles (dumplings), artichokes, macaroons and puddings to the French court. Catherine's cousin, Marie de Medici, brought even more chefs to Paris when she married Henri IV in 1600. The French cooks, increasingly aware of their rising social status, took the Italians' recipes and sophisticated cooking styles on board, and the rest - to the eternal gratitude of epicures everywhere - is history.

Of The

The Green Mediterranean is a peak combination of nature and culture. In the Secovlje Salt Flats Regional Park, you can learn about salt-making traditions and at the same time enjoy the nature that draws more than two hundred species of birds here. In Strunjan, looking at the highest flysch cliff in the Adriatic, you can perceive the uniqueness ofSlovenia's Green Mediterranean. In Piran, the birthplace ofthe famous violin virtuoso Guiseppe Tartini, you can feel the authenticity of past times listening to the sounds of the summer music festival and other events. Various summer festivals in other cities and towns offer countless experiences as well. The rich wellness offer in Portoroz, Strunjan, and Koper will pamper you with thermal mineral water, thalassotherapy, brine mud baths, a variety of different types of massage, beauty treatments, and other programs. Culinary pleasures include Mediterranean dishes, precious truffles, and other fruits of green nature as well as excellent...

Trekking Trains

The most important and impressive of Siena's monasteries is the redbrick Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore (summer, 9 15-noon, 3 15-6 pm, to 5 pm in winter, free). It was the first of the Olivetan branch of the Benedictine faith, founded in 1313 when Giovanni Tolomei (the Fra Bernardo under whom the offshoot went on to obtain papal recognition) abandoned his worldly goods to dedicate himself to a life of poverty and solitude inside the patch of wild and secular cypress forest where the monastery still stands. The approach is pretty stunning itself, with some of the Crete's most spectacular calanchi introducing the dark woodlands, which sheild the complex from the outside world. Only the glazed terracotta entrance gate-tower (the work of Andrea della Robbia) indicates that there is a building here at all. Following the woodland trails inside (park in the car park opposite the entrance gate), the complex appears surprisingly large, its center formed by the impressive Chiostro Grande,...

Day Spas

Doubletree Ranch Rd., Scottsdale (& 480 609-6980 www.thespaatgaineyvillage.com), is a state-of-the-art spa and health club near the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale. Although the health club, which is popular with the Scottsdale Mercedes set, seems to be the main draw, the spa offers a wide range of specialized treatments, including massage in a hydrotherapy tub, couples massages (complete with champagne and chocolate truffles), and just about anything else you can think of. With any 1-hour treatment (average price 85- 95), you can use the extensive exercise facilities or take a class. Packages range from 95 to 360.

Wildlife

After the winter rains, corridors of purple-flowered heliotrope bloom everywhere, and the highways are decorated with borders of assorted wild flowers. There are about 400 plant species in Kuwait. One of the most common is the bright-green rimth, which, along with red-flowered al-awsaj, is a favourite of grazing camels. The Bedu still use herb poultices for snake bites. In spring, truffles sprout through the cracked ground in desert wadis, as if remembering that Kuwait was once a delta land of the long-extinct Arabian River.

Top Sports Websites

The real made noodles are dished up with deliciously creamy sauces or cooked with rush is near midnight. oodles of garlic and tomatoes that have frequentiy just been picked. Each Meanwhile in the colder region has its own distinctive pasta (from ziti in Naples to orecchiette in parts of Western Europe, Apulia). They know the right way to make pizza and polenta here too, you'd best be seated and and rustic Italian cooking also boasts healthy and tasty ingredients like ordering by 8pm. truffles and white beans.

Horses Donkeys

On the first Sunday of October, Alba pulls a spoof on Asti with the Palio degli Asini (Race of the Asses) (& 0173-362-806). The event, which coincides with Alba's annual truffle fair, is not as speedy as Asti's slicker, horseback Palio, but it's a lot more fun. Good-natured as the event is, though, it is rooted in some of the darkest days of Alba's history. In the 13th century, Asti, then one of the most powerful republics of northern Italy, besieged Alba and burned the surrounding vineyards. Then, to add insult to injury, the victors held their palio in Alba, just to put the humbled citizenry further in its place. Alba then staged a palio with asses, a not-so-subtle hint of what they thought of their victors and their pompous pageantry. L'Altra Campana (g PIEMONTESE As you pass through the large gate into the paved stone courtyard backed by this little building, you'll feel as if you've arrived at a country inn from a forgotten age which, actually, it once was. The Natta family's...

Depachika

Hungry for the next culinary novelty, OLs (office ladies) and o-basan (grandmotherly types) prowl the mazes of depachika, the cavernous food halls in department store basements. Depachika often take up several floors, housing a staggering array of foodstuffs of the highest order, freshly prepared and often gorgeously packaged for presentation as gifts. Depending on the most au courant food trends, you could find black truffle oil or dessert vinegar just round the cornerfrom the more traditional 573 grades of the season's green tea and wagashi (delicate candies). Though samples are harder to come by these days, the sharp-eyed will find nibbles of sublime chocolate, sesame-seed sembei (crunchy rice crackers) and dried squid.