Autumn in Italy is magical for many reasons. In the forests of Umbria, Tuscany, Abruzzo, and Piedmont, for example, the weather becomes favorable for growing one of the world’s most prized ingredients: white truffles. Clouds move in. Rain and early snows moisten the soil. Chestnut trees shed their leaves, creating a cover on the ground in which these culinary diamonds thrive.
Thankfully, Palm Beachers have access to these gems in the form of Maurizio Ciminella and Amici Market. Starting in late October, Ciminella is typically able to source fresh white truffles directly from his small cadre of Italian importers. They’re available until January or so, depending on conditions overseas.
“The demand is high, and the supply is not that big,” says Ciminella. “In the wintertime, everyone wants the white truffles. That’s when you get the best flavored ones, the most complicated, the biggest size.”
Because Italian white truffle prices are set on Mondays, Ciminella takes delivery between Tuesday and Friday. He advises anyone interested to call ahead with their order. The individual truffles can range in size from half an ounce upward of 11 to 14 ounces. Ciminella refers to these larger showpiece truffles as “pearls,” and they’re priced accordingly.
Amici Market also carries a variety of truffle products, including powder, butter, olive oil, and pre-shaved truffle under oil. If you’re enjoying fresh white truffles, however, Ciminella says a simple preparation is best. “A little thin slice and it touches a hot dish—it can be a pasta, a rice dish, a meat dish—the moment that it touches that, it comes alive.”