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Oct 25, 2008 12:55 PM

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!

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    1. 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.

      2 Replies
      1. re: DavidT

        Volpetti definitely carries white truffles. I cannot even remember the priceā€”it was so off my radar.

        1. re: mbfant

          sounds like the right place...definately the season so no worries there.

          mille grazie

      2. 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.

        4 Replies
        1. re: RicRios

          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
          Cannonball fruit
          Chinese water chestnut
          Coffee (roasted beans only)
          * Flower bulbs
          Fruits, canned
          Garlic cloves (peeled)
          Lily bulbs (Lilium spp.) for planting
          Maguey leaf
          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)

          1. re: high mountain

            I'm aware of the list.
            But let me tell you something: last time I had an USDA inspector go over one by one by one each damned single piece of truffle with a jewellers magnifying glass, well, it wasn't fun. Oh, and BTW: once I DID get the stuff confiscated.

            1. re: RicRios

              yikes...that is brutal...was it at JFK? I'm flying into Newark....

              1. re: high mountain

                The guy saw tiny holes in an otherwise clean piece, said "Worms", that was the end of it.

        2. right now prices are about 4500 Euros per kilo of white truffles. So several thousand dollars is going to bring you at most 1 or 2 pounds.....

          1 Reply
          1. re: AstridR69

            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.

          2. I was at the truffle fest in Gubbio this weekend and prices ranged between 4000 (small pieces) to 5000 (ones I would consider).