CHEF VINCENZO SCARMIGLIA
Winter months are the last chance to try fresh white truffles of the season. And thanks to favorable weather in Italy, they may continue to be available through January and February. These wonderful expensive tubers are found in and around the small medieval town of Alba in Northern Italy. They are most commonly referred to as the White Winter Truffle or the White Alba Truffle. There are many different species of ordinary truffles that grow elsewhere, but the Tuber Magnatum Pico is the most celebrated and treasured truffle only found during this short period in Alba. They naturally form under the ground at the stumps of certain trees and are hunted down by trained dogs led by their masters. Truffles are a prized possession in gourmet cooking as they add an intense pungent earthy flavor to a meal--transforming it into something unforgettable. This lumpy and shapeless tuber, is most often simply shaved over dishes such as pasta, risotto or fish using a special truffle shaver.