What do I know about Truffles? I’m unemployed. I was miserably unemployed until about four months ago, and then; What do I know about Truffles? Four months ago if you asked me this question I probably would have told you that Lindt truffles taste gorgeous and that I only really have them at Christmas when Mum gets the “good chocolate”. However now when you ask me this question I can tell you that the Truffle is one of the most revered delicacies in the world, only used by the finest and first-c
lass chefs and restaurants. You could say the Truffle industry is a dog eat dog world; Hunters and their hounds sniffing out the the “diamond of the kitchen” in the top secret locations, so secret that if you were to find out you and your family would be put on the witness protection program. OK maybe not that extreme but only just; with hunters competing and doing everything they can to get their hands on the prized possession, so much so that Truffle hunting dogs are often muzzled to avoid them eating or picking up anything that might have been contaminated or poisoned. This and so much more I have learned whilst working here at SZ Tartufi in Italy, a business that eats, sleeps and breathes Truffles. A business that I could only describe
as The TARDIS; it’s bigger on the inside. From an onlooker’s perspective, SZ Tartufi is a little shop tucked away in an industrial estate in Atessa, a town famous for it’s peaches, however if you were to take a closer look you would discover that it is so much more. The little shop tucked away on an industrial estate is merely the beating heart of the company,with arms stretching out across the world. When you look into the beating heart of the company you will find that it is powered by an elite team of people who are more family than colleagues, a team of people that will go out of their way to make you feel a part of the family and an old friend. When I came here in January as part of the AA4E scheme first I was afraid, I was petrified I thought I couldn’t possibly work here with raging Italians of who I couldn’t understand a word, but after a day I realised that they weren’t raging, they were asking each other how their day was. Since being here I have learnt so much, things that no course could teach me or I could read up on the
internet. Of course I have learned things like the official business of importing and exporting and value, standards and seasons, But I have also learned that sometimes language is just a small obstacle in communication and that a smile can go a long way, you can find friends in the most unexpected places, stroking a dog behind it’s ear is a universal language, I can do and say things I never thought I would be able to a year ago, this is so much more that I could be here all day. So what do I know about Truffles? They’ve changed my life.