Fear not. We’re talking about a consummately metropolitan diversion here, truffle hunting made very easy. No tramping through the undergrowth, no pigs or hounds required. Just an address in one of Rome‘s swankiest shopping streets, Via Borgognona. This is where the city’s first truffle lounge opened just over a week ago. In interiors timelessly luxurious to a fault, Tartufi and Friends is both outlet for every kind of truffle-based grocery you can imagine, and eatery of the highest order and international format. Patrons dining in choose from a range of simple dishes – from crostini and tagliolini to carpaccio, cheeses and salamis to salads and ice cream – exquisitely prepared by chef Christophe Reali and served at any time between 11am and 9pm. And along with the packets and jars on sale in the antechamber, you can order gourmet panini to go.
Behind the truffle boutique is the Sermoneta family, forging ahead from luxury fashion through luxury living to luxury food, internationally (yes, they’re already planning to open similar truffle lounges in London, Paris and Moscow as well as Milan). And behind the truffles, the Savini family, Tuscan truffle hunters since the 1920s and guarantors of quality. An exploratory incursion alone will have your olfactory system humming and cost you nothing. But again, fear not. I’m told you can get a delectable truffle apertitif with wine for €15.