So I am headed to europe in less then a week! I want to buy truffles (not the chocolate kind!) in Italy. I will be in Venice and Rome. I will also be in Paris, Ireland, and London but I would prefer to get some in Italy. So does anyone know a nice place to get some? Also, is it okay to put them in checked luggage? Any help is appreciated! Thanks!
Not sure where to buy them, but you appear to be allowed to bring them back to the US per USDA, see http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/clearing/agri_prod_inus.xml If they're packed in oil, you will have to put in checked luggage. It's possible the border patrol dogs will smell them and you'll have to dig them out of your luggage at the baggage claim. (the dogs are very thorough, they can smell that you HAD a sandwich in your bag at one point).
Are you talking about buying fresh truffles? They will probably be black truffles this time of year. But what are you going to do with them? They don't keep well, so carrying them around on your trip to bring them home won't work very well. They will spoil or at least lose most of their aroma by the time you get home. The ones packed in oil (preserved) would do OK.
Mariah, forget Italy (although they do have some great truffles), you can buy both kinds of truffles and more within a couple of blocks of each other in Paris. Just get off at the Madeline metro stop. 1) Maison de la Truffe is at 19 Place de la Madeline. They also have a restaurant. 2) Maison du Chocolat is at 8 Boulevard de la Madeline. We brought home lots of chocolate from this wonderful shop. The two locations are a couple of blocks apart and are not the same street although the names sound similar. For a third bonus, the Maille mustard shop is at 6 Place de la Madeline. They have mustard on tap. We bought mustard on tap, other mustards and small specialty mustard jars and brought them home in our checked luggage. We kept the fresh mustard in our hotel refrigerator until we left for the flight. Here's a link to show you where these 3 locations are located. http://gyazo.com/18fd0aa1b365f0101e3b4d0cfd1cc8c4 To add to your wonderful gastronomic tour, you must vist Laurent Dubois's cheese shop. It's in the Latin Quarter. Laurent DuBois has been awarded the annual best cheesemaker in France. Amazing shop. They will vacuum pack your choices for you to take home in your checked luggage. We did that too. For your additional enjoyment, here's a link to a blog that describes all of the above and more. http://frogandprincess.wordpress.com/tag/laurent-dubois/ Have fun!
As someone else mentioned, truffles don't travel well. If you really want to have fresh ones to cook at home with, you're probably better off making the trip to a gourmet shop in Sacramento, or to San Francisco (at the Ferry Building there's a mushroom shop that sells fresh truffles)