Made by Caseificio Bertagni near Pieve Fosciana in the province of Lucca, Italy, Formaggio al Tartufo is a medium-aged sheep’s milk cheese, studded with pieces of black truffle.
Truffles are similar to mushrooms. They grow underground, attached to the roots of certain trees by their own very delicate and extensive root system. Unlike mushrooms, however, they don’t appear above ground so the way to find them is by detecting their scent. This is accomplished either by trained dogs (for white truffles) or trained pigs (for black truffles). Truffle hunters, or trifolau, know exactly where to search and exactly how to harvest the truffle from the ground without disrupting the root system. This step is crucial in assuring that truffles will continue to grow in that location the next year.
Why do people like Il Tartufo
Tartufo is usually composed of two flavors of gelato that are sculpted together by hand. If there is fruit in the middle, the gelato may be scooped out from the middle and the fruit placed inside, or fruit syrup may be used to paste the two scoops together. If its shell is chocolate, special chocolate is usually melted and either dipped or poured over the gelato ball after being cooled to lukewarm although it can also be rolled in the chocolate and then frozen. If its shell is cinnamon or cocoa, it is usually rolled in cinnamon or cocoa before freezing. If nuts are used, they are usually put on by hand if large or, if smaller, rolled on. For a better shape, circular molds are sometimes used.
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Ingredients that go into Il Tartufo
- 1 pint vanilla ice cream
- 1 pint pistachio ice cream
- 25 chocolate wafer cookies
- 6 maraschino cherries
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chunks
- 5 tablespoons coconut oil
How to cook Il Tartufo
- Gather the ingredients.
- Let the ice creams stand at room temperature for 10 minutes to soften slightly. Line 6 small (about 5-ounce) ramekins or bowls with plastic wrap.
- In a food processor, grind the chocolate wafer cookies. If you don’t have a food processor you can place the cookies in a sealable plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush them as fine as possible. Place the crumbs into a medium bowl and set aside.
- Using a spoon scoop some vanilla ice cream into each plastic-lined ramekin about halfway full.
- Place a cherry on top of the ice cream in the center of each scoop.
- Scoop enough pistachio ice cream over the cherry to fill the rest of the ramekin.
- Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the cookie crumbs to cover the surface of the pistachio ice cream and pull the edges of the plastic wrap together to close. Freeze for at least 3 hours.
- Meanwhile, make the magic shell by melting the chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl at increments of 45 seconds, giving a little stir between heatings. When it is almost completely melted take it out of the microwave and stir using the residual heat to melt the rest.
- Add the coconut oil and whisk until completely combined and smooth.
- Take the ramekins out of the freezer and unwrap each tartufo, placing them cookie-crumb-side-down on a wire rack over a parchment-lined rimmed sheet tray.
- Pour the magic shell over each dome of ice cream to completely coat. Tap the sheet tray on the counter lightly to shake off any excess chocolate.
- Carefully lift each tartufo off the wire rack using a small offset spatula and gently place them one at a time in the bowl of cookie crumbs. Roll the tartufo to coat, gently pressing the crumbs into the chocolate, if necessary, to make them stick.
- Place them on a plate and freeze for 1 hour before serving. Or wrap each one individually in plastic wrap and store them in a large air-tight container in the freezer until needed.
What can Il Tartufo be served together with
Served all over Italy, this shareable ice cream surprise is easy to make. You’ll need two flavors of ice cream, some toppings and a small glass bowl. Having eaten this Italian dessert many times as a child, I was excited to make tartufo at home so I could choose the flavor profile.
Other popular Italian food
Besides Il Tartufo, there are other Italian food dishes that are highly popular in Singapore and around the world. Below is a list of some of the most mentioned ones:
- Bagna Cauda
- Fritto misto piemontese
- Gelato (Ice cream)
- I formaggi ( the Cheeses)
- Il Tartufo (The Truffle)
- Olive Ascolante (Ascoli olives)
- Panzerotto fritto (Fried Panzerotto)
- Pesto Alla Genovese
- Prosciutto di Parma (Parma Ham)
- Sardine in Saor
- Tortelli and Ravioli