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Reviewed by Steve Leshin for Readers' Favorite
When my son and daughter-in-law went to Italy for their honeymoon they participated in a “truffle hunt” in Tuscany. When they explained what it was, I became very curious about it. When I came across Hunting Truffles by author Dick Rosano, I knew I had to read it. The story begins in Alba in Piedmont, Italy. Truffle hunters, who fiercely guard the areas they hunt in for their treasures, are selling their wares. Residents there, especially restaurant owners, are anxious to buy the very aromatic white truffles used to enhance the culinary dishes they create. But the supply of truffles (tubers much like mushrooms that grow in the ground) are suddenly scarce and thus the prices of the truffles that are available have shot up. The buyers, who can hardly afford it, are furious. What happened to the supply of truffles? With this happening we are introduced to a young man named Paolo, the son of Dito, who works hard every day in a vineyard, selling grapes to wineries in the area of Sinalunga. Paolo wants something more from life than picking grapes from dawn to dusk like his father. He wants to go to America. His mother, Catrina, wise as most mothers are, convinces Paolo to visit his aunt and uncle instead and help with their restaurant in Genoa. That is where our adventure begins.
Hunting Truffles is a novel with more than meets the reader’s eye. Described as a culinary adventure, Dick Rosano's story shows an obvious love for the people and geography, as well as the food of Italy and brings to life the rich culture, language, recipes, and rhythms of speech from the characters in this corner of the world. Rosano incorporates absorbing and revealing stories of the history and culture of truffle hunting as well. All this is neatly wrapped up in the adventure of the missing truffles. Paolo learns more than the restaurant business from his aunt and uncle, as well as finding romance, and soon he becomes involved in solving the mystery of the missing truffles. You feel as if you are there, in Genoa, in Alba, witnessing the closeness of Italian families, the smell of the food, and the taste and aroma of the various wines. And you witness the growth of the young man, Paolo. Hunting Truffles is an engaging work of fiction. Saluti!