BusinessLifestyleNews November, 19th 2013 by

The Truffle Season Is Upon Us



AJ Linn

Truffles are not easy to find in your local market, and you have to go up into the hills around Ronda or Gaucín after rain, preferably with an experienced local and his dog. Dry conditions are not good news for tuber hunters. The best truffles in Spain are found in the foothills of the Pyrenees, and at this time of year they are white.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Italian Piedmont region is the home of the most expensive white truffles anywhere. The world record is held by Luciano Savini and his dog Rocco, whose 1.5 kilo truffle found near Pisa was auctioned simultaneously in Macau, Hong Kong and Florence, being finally knocked down to casino-owner Stanley Ho for $330,000. Fortunately there is a restaurant in Marbella that is serving a truffle menu until the end of November.


Il Tartufo is in the Plaza Tetuan, in the pedestrian street behind Gomez & Molina on the other side to the Alameda. Although the premises are quite small there are tables outside that allow for al-fresco dining in one of Marbella’s more delightful old squares. Opened in 2011 by Hollie from Scotland and Emanuele from Italy, it has already become a favourite with many regulars, endorsed by the award of the Marbella Town Hall’s Certificate of Excellence recently. The the idea of celebrating the white truffle season with a menu based on truffles is a Marbella first and fortunately Emanuele is a suitably-qualified chef who clearly did not waste his time before leaving his native Piedmont, although he gathered additional experience in London before coming to Spain.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe truffles served at the restaurant arrive courtesy of UPS direct from the supplier in Piedmont, and are carefully conserved in a wooden box for shaving directly over each dish as it arrives. The tasting menu can be made up of a choice of dishes, including Appetizer of taralli breadsticks with homemade truffle butter and salami Egg, fresh green asparagus and hollandaise sauce with white truffle Beef tartare with white truffle Homemade egg tagliolini with white truffle Grilled Sirloin steak or Fillet of Turbot with truffle butter Cheese selection Honeyed truffle ice cream Pannacotta of coconut served with fresh fruits of the forest coulis and Sartorelli biscuits

The menu costs €35 plus the truffle that is charged extra at €5/gram and you can have as much or as little as your taste desires. If truffles don’t turn you on, there is an extensive classic Italian menu with main courses costing less than €25.

The wine list is heavy on Italian varieties, and the few Spanish on offer are somewhat pedestrian and certainly lacking any sense of adventure. The setting is one of the most pleasant in the Old Town, and it is hardly surprising that Il Tartufo is packed out every night. However when the truffle season finishes at the end of this month, the restaurant closes for the winter to reopen on St Valentine’s Day. Try it out here: <> <> <> <> <> <> <>


AJ Linn

Andrew Linn left England 40 years ago to relocate to Spain, having been involved in businesses such as wine shipping and publishing. He currently writes regularly and professionally on wine, food, flamenco, and the Spanish way of life for various publications, and has a regular column in a Spanish newspaper. Andrew is involved in charity work relating to abandoned and mistreated animals.

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