Off The Map With Italy's Best Truffle Hunter
Originally published on Eater, December 2013.
I was visiting Italy on a photo assignment, and my fixer had set up an afternoon foray to hunt some truffles. "The hunter will pick you up after lunch," he told me during a morning visit to a Lambrusco factory. "You'll go on a mini truffle hunt—the morning is when he does the serious stuff, and he won't bring anyone else with him then, even a serious hiker; you'll only hold him back." A mini truffle hunt? That was never going to work. I was serious about the real thing, and maybe he could tell. There was a flurry of phone calls as my fixer and the tourism officers huddled with their cell phones in a corner of the factory. Whatever they said worked—this famously solitary truffle hunter was willing to let me tag along. "He'll pick you up at five in the morning," my fixer said. "But you can't slow him down."
"Real truffle hunting isn't glamorous. It happens in dirt, darkness, and secrecy."
"I started out my photography career planning to be a photojournalist; I wouldn't have lasted five minutes in a real war."