Truffles and mushrooms in Rome
I'll be all over Northern and central Italy for a couple of weeks, ending in Rome. I hope to bring back several thousand dollars worth of truffles and wonder if anyone has a recommendation for a shoppe in the Eternal City? Anyone specifically to ask for? I can speak conversational Italian so don't be shy!
Well, just back from Milan-Bergamo-all of Umbria and Rome. As for the truffle season it has been a very slow start with the rains just beginning. There were whites at Peck as well as Ovoli and Porcini. Ate whites with fonduta in Bergamo delicious. As for Umbria I hunted porcini several times but only had success one day at Somavilla straddling the Umbrian-Tuscan border. Of course it was my first time hunting in Italy so I was quite happy.
I had to buy truffles in Rome due to my travel plans and not in other "fairer" markets. I wound up going to an amazing shop named La Tradizionale in Rome. Prices were 6500 per kilo and they had blacks as well which I did not buy. Bought just over 1/3 of a pound and had them cryo-vacced in tissue and packed them in a cooler with an ice pack in my suitcase. Declared them and then gave some double talk to customs....saying I just had olive oil and grappa....never even opened my bag. The season should start in earnest now but it will be shorter since the cold is coming. Thanks to everyone who helped with this thread!
For an experienced truffle "purveyor", why on earth would you buy them from middle-men in Rome? Wouldn't it be more economical to go to the source and buy direct. If you are able to come next weekend, you should make your way to the truffle fair in Acqualagna. As AstridR69 pointed out this was not a great year so prices are quite high but if someone purchases them and sells them in Rome, you will pay quite a bit more.
Several thousand dollars amounts to several kilos.
Plus ice packs & packaging, quite a big box.
You'll have to pass it through Customs inspection, more precisely: USDA ( US Department of Agriculture ).
Better familiarize yourself with USDA requirements, or you might end up with the entire case confiscated, for a variety of reasons.
I suggest you talk to an USDA agent before you leave the US.
good advice, I know they must be cleaned of all dirt...should be around 3 or 4 pounds. Here is the list of approved items from the CBP site
General List of Approved Products
Aloe Vera (above ground parts)
Bat nut or devil pod (Trapa bicornis)
Breads, cakes, cookies, and other bakery goods
Chinese water chestnut
Coffee (roasted beans only)
* Flower bulbs
Garlic cloves (peeled)
Lily bulbs (Lilium spp.) for planting
Nuts (roasted only)
Palm hearts (peeled)
Sauces, canned or processed
* Seeds for planting or consumption
Shamrocks leaves without roots or soil
St. John's Bread
Singhara nut (Trapa bispinosa)
Tamarind bean pod
Vegetables, canned or processed
Water chestnut (Trapa natans)
The Volpetti store in the Testaccio district of Rome is likely the best food shop in the city. I would certainly inquire there to see what they have available. Trying to inventory fresh truffles is not an easy thing to do, as availability depends greatly on the time of year, weather conditions for truffle hunting, etc. If they do not have what you are looking for, they should be able to point you in the right direction.