Where to go truffle hunting across Europe

Lauren Hill

Senior Contributor

Truffles are the gastronomic focus in several regions across Europe throughout the autumn and winter months, with festivals and markets held to mark the annual return of this celebrated product of the land. From Piedmont in Italy and Périgord in France - each of which is synonymous with a specific truffle variety - to Istria, Transylvania and even parts of the UK, truffles can be foraged in the woodland and forest before being enjoyed as a part of the local gastronomy. Set out with the help of a truffle specialist or one of the region’s food-focused hotels in search of these natural delicacies while discovering their place in the local culture and cuisine.


Truffles are found across much of Italy, from Piedmont and Veneto in the north to the undulating landscape of Tuscany and bucolic Umbria in the centre of the country. Where you go depends on the type of truffle you’re looking for and the time you’re there. The autumn into winter months bring both black and white varieties to the table. Several festivals celebrate the abundance of truffles at this time, perhaps most famously the Alba International Truffle Festival in Piedmont and La Sagra del Tartufo Bianco in San Miniato, Tuscany. Outside of celebrations like these, visitors can arrange truffle hunting excursions, in which they’ll be accompanied by a specially trained dog, in the autumnal woodland with some tours also including a masterclass into cooking with the truffles found that day. Luxury hotels offering this seasonal experience include Castello di Casole, A Belmond Hotel in Tuscany where a hunt is followed by a truffle-inspired experience at the spa and a truffle-infused dinner.


Each year, autumn marks the beginning of France’s truffle hunting season, with much of the focus on the truffle harvest of Périgord and Provence but also drawing gastronomes to other parts of the country including Champagne and Burgundy. Dedicated truffle markets and festivals take place through these autumn and winter months, from the famous Sarlat Truffle Festival and Sorges Truffle Festival in Dordogne to the renowned Lalbenque Truffle Market in the Lot Valley at which time the surrounding restaurants also serve dishes revolving around the season’s ‘black diamonds’. The Relais & Châteaux property, Château de la Treyne provides an immersion into its surroundings and the region’s truffle culture through woodland truffle hunting experiences as well as through access to the truffle market at Lalbenque.


Most of the attention from gourmands seeking truffles in Croatia falls on the country’s Istria peninsula, which is said to be home to some of the world’s finest truffles. Here this delicacy grows in the forested inland areas and is hunted, with the help of truffle hunting dogs and domestic pigs, through specialists like Prodan Tartufi in the Buzet area. Roxanich Wine & Heritage Hotel in Motovun also offers gastronomic experiences in the local area including truffle hunts, in search of both black and white varieties, in the nearby oak forest with specially trained dogs. Autumn events celebrating the region’s truffles include Zigante Truffle Days in Livade where visitors can delve into Istria’s truffle culture and traditions while trying a variety of dishes using this celebrated ingredient.


Recent years have seen Romania’s gastronomic presence grow significantly along with recognition for locally grown ingredients that thrive in the rich soil, including the country’s truffles. Transylvania’s forested landscape is the hotspot for these coveted delicacies. These truffles are found around the roots of trees making up the region’s old-growth forests with winter truffles foraged for between September and December of each year. A number of operators and hotels offer truffle hunting experiences within this area. For the past 10 years, Valea Verde Retreat has been hosting guests on truffle hunts in Transylvania’s verdant forests. Truffle hunting weekends at the retreat combine hunting excursions with the hotel’s overall gastronomic experience using local ingredients and highlighting Romanian wines.

The UK

It may not be the first place that comes to mind for truffle hunting but areas of the UK have their share of black truffles to forage for – in fact, England is said to have had a thriving truffle industry in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Truffles can grow across much of England in forested areas of counties including Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire. This is where The English Truffle Company hosts truffle hunting experience days with a talk on truffles and afternoon tea with a truffle dish, as well as a two-hour truffle hunt. This experience is also offered in the autumn months by Truffle and Mushroom Hunter in Sussex. Over in Wales, The Welsh Truffle Company is also set to launch truffle hunting days in its orchard on the Monmouthshire/Torfaen border.

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