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Truffle Hunting 101

26 September 2019

You probably know truffles as the thing that makes that entree expensive, but these tubers, often worth more than gold by weight, are pricey for a reason: they are really hard to find. 


So next time you meet a truffle hunter, smile and greet because these guys deserve a serious salute. 


Truffles grow on the roots of trees. As such, the host tree’s roots and its truffles compete for tasty nutrients in the soil. Truffle hunting takes time and a lot of patience. 


You have to train your dog when it is still just a puppy to improve its sense of smell and allow it to find the precious underground fungus, which resides several centimeters below the ground, close by specific types of trees. You could potentially train any dog to find a truffle, but it might be easier to train a puppy and to train a hound who likes to have his nose to the ground. While your dog is training, you will need to have access to truffle oil so he can get used to the strong scent of truffles. 


In previous centuries, pigs were used to go truffle hunting, especially female swine, which are particularly attracted to the heady scent of truffle. They were hard to control and it was difficult to stop them from gobbling up the precious truffles. It’s been illegal to use pigs for truffle hunting in Italy since 1985. The hogs caused too much damage and reduced truffle production. 


Truffle hunting in Italy is a serious business. Truffle hunters have to be licensed and the truffle grounds are protected by an ancient code of honor. It would be extremely bad manners to trespass on another truffle hunter’s patch. 


Now, are you ready to experience the unforgettable thrill of truffle hunting in Umbria and Piedmont, brought to you by our friends Authentic Italy?


Find out how coveted Italian truffles are found. Accompanied by trained truffle-hunting dogs and our 85-year old Truffle Hunter, you’ll explore the hills to search for truffles, and learn about the history and cultural traditions of these prized tubers. Authentic Italy is a luxury travel company with a passion for sharing Italy’s dynamic culture and spectacular foods and wines.


Click here for more details.