March is prime truffle time in much of the Boot. Not only is this top-tier ingredient rich in taste, it affords chefs (and ambitious home cooks) great flexibility. In February and March, Bianchetti truffles are king, while the first days of March bring the tail end of winter black truffle season. Pre-spring in Italy hums with palate-satisfying festivals — but if you can’t make the events, note that many tour operators offer truffle hunting experiences as an arguably even more fun alternative.
Norcia Black Truffle Fair
Ongoing until March 5, 2023
Catch the second half of the 59th edition of the Norcia Black Truffle Fair this March. The event’s centerpiece is the eponymous Nero di Norcia; exhibitors of this fine black truffle exceed 100 and offer serious cooking inspiration. You’ll find a healthy mix of educational initiatives and entertainment — product showcases, panel discussions, cooking demonstrations and even parades. Kid-friendly workshops are also on the menu, as well as street performances and animations.
If truffles aren't your thing — but, we have to ask, why aren’t they? — you’ll still find plenty of cream-of-the-crop local foods to sample, including regional meats, cheeses, vegetables, grainy goods and more.
San Miniato Marzuolo Truffle Season
March 5-19, 2023
San Miniato in the Pisa province is one of the biggest-ticket locations for the Bianchetto truffle, and the self-styled “Truffle City’s” celebrations are wildly popular, growing year after year. While March truffles have been celebrated in the small San Miniato hamlet of Cigoli for over two decades, this year, there will be an extra event taking place the weekend before in nearby Corazzano.
But tartufo marzuolo season in the area kicks off even before then, on the first Sunday of March with an inauguration in San Miniato. Kid-friendly treasure hunts teach budding gourmands about the properties of the truffle and its background, while, for grown-ups, there are guided tastings, markets, cooking shows, hunts and truffle extraction demos.
Spring Truffle Festival in Casola Valsenio
March 12, 2023
The Spring Truffle Festival in this Emilia-Romagna town near Ravenna is a relative newcomer, first coming onto the scene in 2014. But in a short timeframe, the festival has established itself on the event circuit thanks to growing interest in its host region’s prodigious growth of truffles.
From 10am on festival day, Casola Valsenio’s historic center comes to life with a wealth of market stalls proffering a wide range of truffles. Visitors can enjoy a good cross-section of truffle-based dishes made with other locally sourced ingredients.
Trousers feeling tight? The afternoon's truffle hunt offers a fun chance to walk off the morning’s indulgences. Watch the magic that happens when a local truffle hunter and faithful dog lead the way. Rounding out the program, of course, are the customary demonstrations, exhibitions and children’s entertainment.
Festival of the Marzuolo truffle of Certaldo
March 18-26, 2023
Certaldo is gearing up for the 27th edition of its Marzuolo Truffle Festival, held in the Antonio Caponnetto municipal complex.
While other events focus on extra shows and entertainment, this festival lets the truffle do the talking. Organized by Associazione Tartufai delle Colline della Bassa Valdelsa, the festival is more like a long, town-wide meal, with truffle-based dishes waiting to be sampled at dinnertime on Saturday as well as Sunday lunch and supper. Local favorites include tagliolini with truffles and the beef tagliata.
Pre-booking is required for a seat at a table (see the telephone number and contact form on the association’s website).
Fossombrone Bianchetto Truffle Market
March 18-26, 2023
You know you’re in true, authentic truffle territory when, ahem, no one’s updated the festival website since 2017. But just as this article was slated to go live, the Fossombrone truffle hunters’ association updated their official Facebook page with dates and developments for the 39th edition.
Last year’s festival was a splashy success, with visitors enjoying Fossombrone’s warm and friendly ambience. Annually, the festival includes a truffle hunting competition, ad hoc menus prepared by local restaurateurs highlighting the best of Le Marche truffles, and presentations given by experts.