The Journal

Interview of a truffle hunter

villa-lena, tuscany, italy, fresh, garden, vegetable-garden, kitchen-garden, organic, vegetable, vegetables, cooking, workshop, workshops, truffle, truffle-hunt, truffle-experience, truffles, truffle-dog

 

Q: Is there any secret rule guide that handles relationship between hunters? Like a code since it is almost considered as a “war”?

A: There are regional rules setting out timetables and areas where hunters are allowed to go. In fact, the season starts on September 10th and the daytime is from sunrise to sunset. These rules are not always respected; many go by night to anticipate the next-day hunt, even though this is absolutely prohibited. In addition to the rules there is a personal respect that keeps the relationship between the hunters who works in the same area: where is someone’s area the others should not go, each has its “own” zone. Additionally, in some lands, like Villa Lena, which is private, gathering is only permitted to authorized people. Unfortunately some hunters can act as barbarians reacting badly against dogs or personal properties, like the cars of their competitors.

Q: Make us jealous and tell us what was the biggest amount you reached in one day?  Which were the factors, beside luck, that made this result possible?

A: The best gathering I had was of 5 kg in two hours. A good knowledge of the ground and of the truffles’ growing phases as well as a proper training of the dogs are the key elements for a successful hunt.

 

villa-lena, tuscany, italy, fresh, garden, vegetable-garden, kitchen-garden, organic, vegetable, vegetables, cooking, workshop, workshops, truffle, truffle-hunt, truffle-experience, truffles, dog, dogs, truffle-dog,

 

Q: Which is the best time of the day to look for them and which are the best spots?

A: The season starts in September and then goes on until December, however November and the beginning of December are the best months for the white truffles and from January to March for the black ones. The truffle needs some specific factors to grow, these are usually found near the trees’ roots where the soil is humid and adaptable to the truffles needs.

Q: How do you think the truffle hunting will develop in the future? Would there be a way to grow them anyhow?

A: A way that is already applied is the “Improved truffle” method – it consists in adding to the soil the favourable elements so that it increases the semiotic soil for the truffle. It will depend on the evolution of the climate. Temperatures made the ground very unsuitable for truffles at the moment. If you then think that it is a mushrooms existing only in Italy and in some other countries of the Balkan Peninsula, it is clear that it will make it something more and more rare.

Q: If you have just one piece of truffle left in which way would you love to eat it?

A: Just one portion? If so in neither ways…a truffle has to be eaten only if shared.

Q: Ok so lets say for two people, but only one way to cook\use it?

A: On top of a fried egg.

Q: How did you learn the process of being a truffle hunter?

A: From my grandfather, it is usually a knowledge, which is handed over inside a very close family or specific circle.

 

villa-lena, tuscany, italy, fresh, garden, vegetable-garden, kitchen-garden, organic, vegetable, vegetables, cooking, workshop, workshops, truffle, truffle-hunt, truffle-experience, truffles, truffle-dog

 

Q: Which reasons drive someone to become a truffle hunter? Money, love for challenges? Love for dogs and nature?

A: I could say all of them, which is actually true. But if I should think of the main one I would say; money.

TRUFFLE HUNT AT VILLA LENA 5/5

Come and visit us in Autumn, the local truffle hunters will roam the woods around Villa Lena for the precious, highly prized white truffles. Join them on their forage and learn more about the distinct flora and fauna the historic grounds offer. After a successful hunt, truffles are best enjoyed freshly shaved over home made pasta!

Happy truffle season!

villa-lena, tuscany, italy, fresh, garden, vegetable-garden, kitchen-garden, organic, vegetable, vegetables, cooking, workshop, workshops, truffle, truffle-hunt, truffle-experience, truffles, dog, dogs, truffle-dog,

TRUFFLE HUNT AT VILLA LENA 4/5

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A Tartufai knows where to look for truffles in the dense and wild forests of Tuscany, but only the keen nose of a canine companion will sniff out the exact location. Hence, the truffle hunt has always been a team sport, consisting of a human and animal collaboration.

The highly trained truffle dogs took over from the female truffle pigs in recent years. The pigs simply enjoyed their findings so much, they refused to retrieve them…

NiklasAdrianVindelev_Truffle_Villalena_tuscany_hunt_lagotto_searching

TRUFFLE HUNT AT VILLA LENA 3/5

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As mentioned above truffle is par
t of the fungus family, growing with the roots of certain trees. What sets them apart from other mushrooms is not that they grow underground, but that they have a symbiotic relationship with trees. They attach to the roots of trees and issue long tendrils that gather nutrition for the plant. The carbohydrates that are returned from the host tree eventually form the “fruit” – the truffles. The white truffle can reach 12 cm diameter and a weight of 500 gr.

villa lena, plants, mushroom, roots, trees, truffles,

Sophie Monet Jewelry in Siri Thorson flower settings

LA-based jeweler Sophie Monet partnered up with her co-artist in residence florist Siri Thorson to create a dreamy editorial of special edition jewelry, presented within a flowery setting.

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Gold plated earrings made of wood and found terra cotta with sun flowers and fennel blossoms

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Gold plated earrings made of found terra cotta and beach stones with a medley of wild grapes

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Gold plated earrings made of wood and rose quartz with unripe pomegranates

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Gold plated earrings made of wood with crape myrtle petals

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Gold plated earrings made of beach stones with Villa Lena peaches and wild oats
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Gold plated earrings made of found terra cotta and pebble stones with fossils from Tuscan soil

Special edition jewelry and Art direction by Sophie Monet

http://www.sophiemonetjewelry.com/

https://www.instagram.com/sophiemonet/

Styling and photography by Siri Thorson

http://sirithorson.com/

https://www.instagram.com/thelittlebanana/

TRUFFLE HUNT AT VILLA LENA 2/5

truffle, ceramics, three, smell, hunt, truffle pasta, unique flavour

The region around Villa Lena with the cities of San Miniato, Montaione, Montespertoli, Volterra and Cartaldo is one of the the most important areas in Italy for truffle hunting. During the truffle festivals over the last three weekends in November, the precious produce of the Tuscan soil becomes gold! Each variety of truffle has its own particular aroma, which is suitable for specific culinary uses – butter, pasta, olive oil, sauces…. Among the numerous varieties the white truffle is seen as the most valuable one, with a market prize of up to 3000 EUR per kilo!

villa-lena, tuscany, italy, fresh, garden, vegetable-garden, kitchen-garden, organic, vegetable, vegetables, cooking, workshop, workshops, truffle, truffle-hunt, truffle-experience, truffles,

villa-lena, tuscany, italy, fresh, garden, vegetable-garden, kitchen-garden, organic, vegetable, vegetables, cooking, workshop, workshops, truffle, truffle-hunt, truffle-experience, truffles, summer-truffles

Kana London Ceramics under the Tuscan sun

Four simple, seasonal summer salads from the Villa Lena garden, prepared by Sarah Angileri – presented in limited edition ceramics by Kana London. 
Kana London x Sarah Angileri_Villa Lena_01Charred aubergines with lemon, tahini yoghurt, mint, wild blackberries & honey
Kana London x Sarah Angileri_Villa Lena_02Roasted carrots with curry, rice, pickled onions, black olives, vinegar marinated sultanas & mint
Kana London x Sarah Angileri_Villa Lena_03Cooked and raw beetroot, salty ricotta, basil, balsamic candid orange & pistachios

Kana London x Sarah Angileri_Villa Lena_07Cucumber, pickled red onions, chickpeas, black pepper & rosemary 

 

Limited edition Ceramics

& Art direction, photography

Ana Kerin, founder of Kana London

http://www.kanalondon.com/

https://www.instagram.com/kanalondon/

in cooperation with

Sarah Angileri, Personal Chef

https://www.eatpropermeals.com/

https://www.instagram.com/seaishewas/

 

 

Truffle hunt at Villa Lena 1/5

Tuscany might be known for its beautiful landscape of rolling hills, its breathtaking sunsets and most astonishing architecture. But above all, there is the Tuber Magnatum Pico, also known as the worlds best white truffle or the diamond of the kitchen. The subterranean fungus makes foodies swoon and converts fungi rookies into truffle aficionados. While the Tartufai (truffle hunters) are very secretive about their hunting grounds, one might be successful close to the roots of some species of forest and shrubs, in particular oaks, holm oaks, poplars, lichens, willows and carpini.

 

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Walking Tour by Nathaniel Axel

villa-lena, tuscany, italy, toiano, palaia, bed, bedroom, bedsheet, bedsheets, desk, window, floor, tiles, natural-light, day-light
For as long as I’ve had a studio practice, I’ve been taking notes towards a book. It’s not fiction exactly, but a story is at the heart of it. The narrative has been revealing itself in small increments, fragments, appearing only intermittently, albeit consistently, for most of my adult life. Over the course of my time at Villa Lena I found myself encountering a number of these fragments in the real world. They were small things, but uncannily precise.
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I spent a lot of time walking. I kept a diary. I’m not a photographer, but I took a lot of pictures. It was all autobiography, although I tried to imagine myself as other people too. Sometimes these were potential characters for the book, and sometimes their identities were more abstract. The documentation was an attempt to clarify where I was and what I was doing, and what these things suggested more generally about who I am.
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Nathaniel Axel_04

The older I get the less of a sense of consistent identity I possess. When I picture the vector of my life, I see a single consciousness moving through a series of different selves. My ability to make work, and the fundamental drive to make work in the first place, is inextricably linked to how I understand myself at any given moment. Work both opens and reflects, like a one-way mirror onto self.

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Nathaniel Axel_06
Nathaniel Axel_07
What meant something yesterday is meaningless today. There are so many words I’ve said, so many people I’ve met, so many things I’ve seen, that I cannot recollect at all. I forget who I am by trying to remember who I want to be.
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Paul’s Garden

paulsgarden_oregano and butterfly
Oregano and butterfly

How vainly men themselves amaze 

To win the palm, the oak, or bays, 

And their uncessant labours see 

Crown’d from some single herb or tree, 

Whose short and narrow verged shade 

Does prudently their toils upbraid; 

While all flow’rs and all trees do close 

To weave the garlands of repose.

Excerpt from The Garden by Andrew Marvell

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From the garden to the restaurant

Paul has a green thumb and a big heart for his plants and all the residents of Villa Lena. His tomatoes, zucchinis, melanzane, carrots, strawberries and peppers are enjoyed freshly harvested right out of the garden at the Villa Lena restaurant.

All his vegetables stem from his own seeding, which makes it a truly local 0 km production.

Ask Paul for a tour through his enchanted vegetable garden to hear more about the different types of basil and the palate of tomato shades he grows without the use of any pesticides.

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Cucumbers of all shapes
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Beautiful melanzane
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Shades of tomatoes

Follow Paul on instagram @villalena_garden