Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar's Ingredient Hunting in Italy

There is no doubt that while in Italy, truffles might be one of the most-precious ingredients you can come across. However, as you travel through the Bel Paese, you might also discover that many items can tickle your palate in the most-luxurious way without necessarily being as expensive as truffles.

Every region, province, village or piece of farmland has something special to offer, from the most vibrant produce down south to the most-amazing cheeses on top of the Alps, the fresh, cheap sardines you can buy on the docks in Livorno, and the best (and only) Prosecco in the northeast.

You might argue that hunting for tomatoes is not half as exciting as hunting for truffles, but have you ever scored 2 pounds of ripe San Marzano tomatoes in the middle of August at a roadside stand in Calabria? The moment you bite into that warm fruit you are reminded of your place on Earth!

Different strokes for different folks, they say, and that is the absolute truth when it comes to “hunting” for the best ingredients while traveling through Italy. Every time you discover a new food or an exquisite flavor, your world expands because of the heritage that comes with it, and it’s a beautiful experience.

There is no winter without a roasted chestnut bought from a cart on the street and no summer without an ice-cold slice of watermelon, again sold from a truck, possibly by the same person that sold you the chestnuts at Christmas.

Tune in to Extra Virgin tonight at 8pm ET to watch Debi and Gabriele surprise the girls with an afternoon adventure to Pisa where they'll meet up with a well-known truffle hunter and tag along with him and his dog as they scour the woods looking for the rare and tasty mushroom.

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Pantry: Italian Essentials

A well-stocked pantry makes whipping up delicious Italian meals a snap. Countless dishes can be made from ingredients on hand, but with a quick dash through the express line for perishables, the options are limitless.

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