Day 3: Black Truffles & Castello di Torrechiara, Italy

We were up bright and early in anticipation of our black truffle hunt. The morning glories at our vacation rental, BibliLoved House, in Traversetolo were gorgeous every morning. Our destination was about 40 minutes away in Vallerano at the Agriturismo La Macchia Tonda.

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Along the way…

IMG_5342Turn left at the sign for Vallerano

IMG_2313We met our guide, Francesca, in the tiny community of Vallerano for our arrange truffle hunt

IMG_5343Francesca and his young truffle dog

IMG_5346Gorgeous day, gorgeous scenery!

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IMG_5349Zack – A bundle of happy energy!

IMG_5352Francesca’s cultivated black truffle grove is fenced and locked. In Italy, if you have a mushroom hunter permit, you can hunt mushrooms on anyone’s property that isn’t fenced. Same goes for bird, deer and boar hunting!

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Zack’s nose is right on, and he starts finding truffles immediately. Francesca has to race to get the truffle before Zack can eat them (he’s young and still learning).

IMG_5367He uses a special truffle digging knife to pop out the truffle

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Wow! Look at this one! IMG_5362Treats are in order…

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IMG_5393After our successful hunt, it was time for our truffle lunch. We followed Francesca up the hill to his Agriturismo restaurant. I loved this little spring house with a log trough.

IMG_2260The restaurant sits at the top of the hill and has great views.

IMG_2261http://www.lamacchiatonda.it/

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IMG_2263Here was our haul from our truffle hunt – 2-3 lbs in around 45 minutes

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IMG_2287One of the black truffles cut in half. They have a distinct smell.IMG_2277

IMG_2275We had made reservations for a luncheon after our hunt that featured dishes made from truffles. Everything is made from scratch and they serve local wine which was also delicious. Our first course was bread, sliced truffle and cured meats and potatoes and celery from their garden.

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IMG_2280Homemade pasta – part of the next course…

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IMG_2294Gnocchi and truffle with local parm cheese… is your mouth watering yet?

IMG_2297Break between plates… Wally seems to attract animals everywhere we go. English setters are very popular in northern Italy for their bird hunting abilities.

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IMG_2303Next up… eggs and truffle

IMG_2305And a divine chocolate dessert

IMG_2307What a perfect day so far!

IMG_2311Dessert was followed by a sampling of grain liquors (Italian moonshine) infused with native flavors such as wild berry, apple, basil, walnut and many more. Note the smile. Great food followed by great local liquor. Glad Wally’s driving!

photo 3Parting view

IMG_2312Our next adventure was on the way home and worth the stop at Castello di Torrechiara, built in the 1400s. One of my favorite movies from the ’80s, “Ladyhawke” was filmed here.

IMG_2315I loved the pumpkins perched on the upper window

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IMG_2319Here’s the history:

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IMG_2321The little chapel in the village

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IMG_2325There’s a restaurant right next to the castle in the village, http://www.tavernadelcastello.it/

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IMG_2344View from the veranda

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IMG_2355I loved the Juggler’s Room for the bizarre and fantastic art. Check out the details…

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The stables were inside the castleIMG_2375

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IMG_2376Whew! Long day, time to rest and relax at BibiLoved House

IMG_5336I love the copper rooster gutters!

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### That’s all for now ###

Categories: Travel: ITALY | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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