juan pablo di lelle
This tour was one of the highlights of our trip. When was the last time you went scouting the forest with an expert truffle hunter and her talented truffle hunting dog, then ate delicious truffle-based dishes with lovely wine? We were picked up on time by our amazing guide, Raffaella. On the way to San Miniato she explained all we needed to know, describing the areas we were passing by, and getting to know us a bit better. The ride was very comfortable, and we arrived in less than an hour, ready to tackle the woods. In San Miniato we were greeted by the hunter, Francesca. We were given rain boots to be able to walk in the woods comfortably, then met Cioccho the hunting dog. And off we went to the woods! Cioccho is a renowned hunting dog — and didn't disappoint. We walked at a good pace within the forest, Francesca working alongside her dog, guiding it, distinguishing false alarms from real findings, and most importantly, making sure Cioccho didn't eat the truffles! In an hour and a half we discovered two black truffles and two white truffles, to the group's excitement. Smelling white truffles picked from the undergrowth was a unique experience. On the way back to the house, we walked along the olive trees, with a stunning view of the Tuscan hills. We arrived hungry, and ready to eat (and drink). We were quickly directed to a lovely dining room and given fresh water. Then, wine! And then, delicious dishes made with fresh black and white truffles. We finished the meal with an amazing dessert, home-made Vin Santo, and coffee. Every dish was simply delicious. We continued chatting a bit, sipping the Vin Santo, then left to the wine-tasting part of the tour. We got a tour of the winery, learned about the process of winemaking, and about tasting techniques. We tasted three different Chianti: two relatively young (2012 and 2014) DOCG, and a "super tuscan" IGT. I am not a big fan of Chianti, but the wines were enjoyable and our winery guide was knowledgable and friendly, guiding us and letting us discover the tastes and scents that one can notice in these wines. We also tasted an incredibly-delicious olive oil produced locally, with home made bread and local cheeses. So we had a great time at the winery, before returning to Firenze: we were dropped right next to the best ice cream shop in town... ;-) So, thank you Raffaella, Francesca, Ciocco, Maria Luisa and Enrica for the lovely day. We will visit you again!