As Michelle mentioned in a previous post, prior to our arrival in Florence we had booked a truffle hunting experience during our stay. As some of you may be aware, Airbnb has recently rolled out new services called Experiences and Places. Places are favorite local spots recommended by local hosts. Experiences are just that, experiences with local guides that can enhance your stay in an area. Some of the categories are: Sports, Nature, Social Impact, Entertainment, Arts, and of course Food. While this part of Airbnb is new, Michelle and I were fortunate enough to be part of the beta before the public rollout of this new feature. At that time it was called City Experiences. Since we were in Italy, one of the food experiences was a natural for us. Our choice was the Truffle Hunter Giulio. This particular experience was three different events spread over the course of two days. The event was limited to 10 people max so it made for a nice small group.
Day 1 - Friday
This was an evening get together at a great wine shop/deli in Florence - Gastronomia Galanti. If you are in Florence, do yourself a favor and visit this shop at Piazza della Libertà 31/r. The owner, Andrea, is a champion sommelier and a friend of Giulio’s. Here we met up with Giulio and the other participants of our truffle experience weekend. Our small group was composed of fellow travelers as well as a couple of Airbnb employees trying out this unique experience. Giulio gave a short talk on the life of a truffle hunter in Italy, and explained the different truffle types found in the region and other parts of the world. We learned about the different seasons of local truffles while we examined, smelled and sampled a couple of truffle types on fresh bruschetta, along with wine selected by Andrea. At the end of the evening Andrea gave us a tour of his state of the art wine cellar in the restaurant.
Day 2 - Saturday
The group met at Giulio's countryside home in the nearby town of Bagno a Ripoli, a 15 minute cab ride from our apartment. The day was a little rainy but that did not dampen the spirit of the group as we donned coats, grabbed umbrellas and had a chance to meet the star of the show-Giulio’s truffle dog Eda. Giulio explained, after years of training, all Eda really wants to do is be out in the forests hunting truffles. As Giulio’s main business is selling truffles all over the world, the truffle hunting for him and Eda is a six day a week job. Our small truffle hunt was just a small part of their work week. With introductions made, we head out and up into the surrounding woods. Barely into the forest and Eda starts her hunt, and very shortly she (we) had the first of several truffles we (she) found that day.
Back at the house after the hunt, we sat down to a terrific multi-course lunch. Each course, from the bread, to the pasta, to the ice-cream dessert, was combined with truffles. There were more truffles than we have ever eaten! It was a wonderful and unique lunch.
This first Airbnb experience was a real delight for us and the rest of the group. While we won’t have these opportunities in every city we visit, we will certainly be on the look out for more unique adventures along our way.
Thanks for joining us on our journey.