“Vai, Maga!” We chased Maga, the Portuguese water dog, deep into the Tuscan forest along with our trusty truffle hunter, Giulio, aptly named, “Giulio the truffle hunter.” Maga quickly dug into the fertile soil, revealing a beautiful autumn truffle for the taking. Giulio praised the dog by petting her and bellowing, “brava, Maga!” We couldn’t believe our eyes. There it was – a beautiful truffle ripe for the taking in the Tuscan countryside. We had set out to go truffle hunting in Tuscany and we had done it! We “hunted” a truffle in Tuscany and it was by far one of the most authentic and exciting travel adventures we’ve ever experienced!
The Truffle Hunting Experience
Giulio the truffle hunter lives about 10 km outside of downtown Florence. We left the city center and took a 25-euro taxi ride to Giulio’s house in the Tuscan countryside. We were immediately transported to a Fattori painting – the house was set on idyllic olive groves overlooking the Italian Renaissance town of Firenze. Madonna mia, this was Tuscany at its finest!
Upon arrival, we headed out to one of Giulio’s truffle hunting areas (he has over 20 areas that he hunts in) and we set out to go truffle hunting in Tuscany. Within minutes, his four-year-old dog, Maga, had found a truffle! We continued our hunt for the next thirty minutes, successfully finding our seasonal truffles – black autumn truffles. Once we found our fill, we headed back to Giulio’s house to enjoy the truffles.
Enjoying Tuscan Truffles
After our successful truffle hunt, we made our way back to Giulio’s house to enjoy a truffle picnic. Upon arrival to his beautiful house overlooking Florence, Giulio offered us cheese and wine. Sure, it was 11 in the morning, but it’s never too early for wine in Italy!
We sat down and Giulio brought out fresh cheese and sparkling wine and then proceeded to top the cheese with fresh truffles. The truffles were so delicious and fresh and let us tell you – Giulio does not skimp on the distribution of truffles (unlike most restaurants!) We asked Giulio to join us and we proceeded to enjoy a delicious truffle picnic in the comfort of Giulio’s own home. This was Italian hospitality in its finest form. Time seemed to fly by as Giulio recounted stories of truffle hunting in Tuscany (what a life!) and we sipped on local Tuscan wines.
Giulio the Truffle Hunter
Giulio has been a pioneer of the Tuscan truffle experience since 1999. His passion for truffles (and for life) was palpable from the moment we met him. Giulio has been involved in culinary and hospitality efforts since the mid-80’s, having worked at food markets, a famous restaurant in Milan, a bed & breakfast in Tuscany, and then eventually with truffles. He is a member of the Tuscan truffle association called Associazione Tartufai delle Colline della Bassa Valdelsa. He is a true expert and lover of his craft.
Now if only we would have waiting another week to go hunting, we could have hunted for the prized white truffle (which starts around mid-September)! Well…we know we’ll be back for more! Because there’s no such thing as too many truffles 🙂
Leave A Comment