What is behind truffles, the rare and precious mushrooms? The SSTH Hotel Management students of the major Culinary Arts went on a truffle hunt together with a truffle company in Northern Italy. A report by Alina Fritzenwallner.
It starts at 2 in the morning
In the early morning, the approximately eight-hour bus ride towards Perugia, Italy, started. Arriving in Umbria, truffle expert Irene took us to a remote town full of Italian charm. After a short guided tour through the Italian town, we enjoyed a lunch with regional specialties and a lot of truffles. A first foretaste of what awaited us!
On a truffle hunt with the search dogs Mia and Luna
With a full stomach we went on to the two truffle search dogs Mia and Luna. They gave their best for us and thanks to excellent teamwork they found about ten black truffles.
It was very exciting to experience the relationship between the dogs and the guide. The dog is the centre of his life, without him he would have no work and could not pay his living.
Black or white truffle, what's the difference?
Back at the truffle company the head of the family showed us the correct cleaning of the white truffles. With a lot of sensitivity and caution he removes the soil from each truffle by hand.
Before we went back to snow-covered Switzerland, we were able to go in search of the white truffle together with truffle experts. It soon became clear that it is much rarer than the black truffle.
Our learning from this excursion: there is a lot of work behind the truffle production and a big portion of luck. Furthermore we could experience how passionate the truffle hunters are and with how much passion they search for the noble mushrooms.
Would you like some impressions from the truffle hunt? Click here for the photo album: