If someone asked me about truffles about five years ago, my answers would be ranging from "they taste insane" to "they probably come from Piedmont, Alba or somewhere in France, dunno exactly, I came for the pizza". That was before I had the pleasure of meeting Nektarios Filippopoulos, a person who I grew to think as a good friend and a mushroom guru. His knowledge around the mushroom world is extraordinary. I am almost convinced he probably knows the smurfs living underneath them.
My knowledge about truffles and mushrooms turned into a "that escalated quickly" case. Nektarios taught me the proper, Latin-esque fungus names, how to cook them, how to preserve them, how to shave truffle, what's the difference between black and white; winter and summer truffles, and that surprisingly enough they grow everywhere in Greece. He also taught me that Lagotto Romagnolo is not an Italian shoemaker I've never heard of. It's Lucy's breed; Lucy being his truffle sniffing dog that is able to smell this all-pervasive aroma from far away. Going on a truffle hunting was an eye-opening experience. We walked into the woods, searched, observed, learned, picked and finally tasted the prize of our quest as a team. If you are a travel12 regular you'll probably know me as Maria the indulger, the city lover, the restaurant habitué, the style and culture aficionado. So if I was deeply satisfied with this then mark my words, you are gonna love it!
Now if I failed to convince you and going truffle hunting is still not your cup of tea, then there are other ways to learn while enjoying their refined, exquisite taste. I realized that the moment I set foot in "Kanela and Garyfallo" restaurant in Vitsa, Zagori. Vassilis Katsoupas, the owner is equally knowledgeable and passionate about mushrooms and may be eager to take you mushroom hunting. But if your approach to this concentrates around the coziness of a restaurant with a glass of local Debina wine in your hand, then you should know that he has dedicated his entire menu to mushrooms.
Dishes vary in kinds of mushrooms used and cooking ways. From salads to hors d' oeuvres and pasta to the fascinating mushroom dessert, there's no other protagonist in this gastronomic tale. Kanela and Garyfallo, meaning Cinnamon and Clove, is definitely sugar and spice and everything nice!
How about pinning Greece down as a truffle experience destination?
P.s: If you want my secret truffle risotto recipe leave me a comment.