With prices for white truffles reaching an all-time high, a Michelin-star-studded line-up of Italian chefs will be in Asciano for a three-day culinary event Dec. 8-10 celebrating the Crete Senesi’s pungent delicacy.
Truffle Passion: the Pleasure of the Senses will feature activities ranging from cooking demonstrations to children’s workshops to truffle hunting. White truffles will be available at the street market and as a primary ingredient in many of the street snacks. On Friday, a vintage steam train will arrive to tote visitors across the scenic countryside, while on Sunday, Santa Claus will come to town.
The events will culminate in gala dinners on Friday and Saturday evenings featuring several of Italy’s top chefs. The truffle-inspired menus created by Michelin-starred chefs will be paired with the region’s Chianti Classico wines. The dishes will incorporate other ingredients local to the Crete Senesi, including Chianina beef, Cinta Senese pork, pecorino cheese, and pasta Asciano made with locally grown ancient grains.
“In a year in which the drought has greatly reduced the production of white truffles, we’re aiming to enhance the ìwhite diamond’ of the restaurant world, right here in its area of origin, the Crete Senesi. These two days will be dedicated to spotlighting the excellence of the territory, as demonstrated through the great skill of the starred chefs,” said Vittorio Camorri, president of Terretrusche Events in Cortona, who brought the chefs together for the event.
The showcase, now in its third year, is sponsored by the town of Asciano, the Tartufai Del Garbo Association and the Chianti Classico Consortium in collaboration with Terretrusche.
A taste of the delicate tuber may cost a bit more at this year’s event. As Camorri noted, this summer’s high heat and low rainfall impacted production. That led to the historic spike in the price of the white truffle, which grows underground, thriving in cooler and damper conditions.
About 200 suppliers provide fresh and processed white truffles to shops and restaurants in Italy, an industry valued at about half a billion euro, according to the agricultural organization Coldiretti. The average price this year has reached 6,000 euro per kilo.
On Friday evening
The main event will be the dinner with the theme of “White Truffle Passion: The Pleasure of the Senses,” showcasing the skills of Italian women chefs and sommeliers.
The female chefs will be led by Silvia Baracchi, 1-star chef at Relais & Chateaux Il Falconiere in Cortona; Katia Maccari, 1-star chef at Il Patriarca in Chiusi; and Antonella Ricci, 1-star chef at Al Fornello da Ricci in Ceglie Messapica. They will be joined by chef Michela Starita of the Regional Union of Tuscan Chefs; Marialuisa Lovari, chef at Cucina Donnaluisa at the Il Verreno Resort in Ambra; Elnava del Rosa, pastry chef at CastaDiva Resort & Spa in Blevio; and Catia Ciofo, chef at Taste & Feeling in Perugia.
Each chef will prepare a course that will be paired with a Chianti Classico wine, served by female sommeliers. Several other chefs will be assisting, including Paolo Gramaglia, 1-star chef at President Restaurant in Pompeii.
Proceeds from a fund-raising event that evening will be donated to the Pediatrics and Neonatology Department of the Nottola Hospital in Montepulciano.
The dinner will highlight the theme of “Its Highness: The White Truffle of Crete Senesi.” Dishes will be prepared by Pino Cuttaia, 2-star chef at the restaurant La Madia in Licat; Claudio Sadler, 2-star chef at Sadler in Milano; chef Andrea Alfieri of Il Chiostro di Andrea in Milano; Emiliano Rossi chef at Osteria del Teatro in Cortona; executive chef Massimiliano Mandozzi of the CastaDiva Resort & Spa in Blevio; chef Matteo Donati of Donati Restaurant in Castiglione della Pescaia; chef Walter Redaelli of the in Walter Redaelli Restaurant Sinalunga; chef Emilio Signori of Locanda la Luna in Tirli; and pastry chef Elnava de Rosa.
Chianti Classico will be served by members of the Italian Sommelier Association. During the evening, the “White Truffle City of Asciano” award will be presented.
On both nights
The chefs will work in collaboration with Sadler; Fausto Arrighi, former director of the Michelin Guide; and designer Annamaria Farina.
Both dinners will take place in the Scuderie del Granduca, the historic stables of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. The 18th-century stable has been renovated into an elegant venue in the center of Asciano. Tickets for both the Friday and Saturday dinners are available through Terretrusche Box Office.