Ever had a truffle – or a black truffle. The area of France known as the Dordogne produces 80% of these truffles – called Tuber melanosporum or The Perigord Diamond.
They have a subtle aroma and an earthy flavour and reminds every one of rich chocolate or so they say.
Since the best times to get this flavour and aroma is during the European winter or January and February our August visit was not really the best.
The wooded area reminded me of our hills in Australia. Sheep and cows over the road and low scrub under the trees. The truffles grow just beneath the soil among the root systems of oak, beech, hazelnut, chestnut,t birch or poplar trees.
In France the truffle hunters are called rabassiers and use either dogs or pigs – usually the female pig or sow – as they have a fantastic sense of smell – to unearth these black truffles. Trouble is, if you use a pig, you need to be very quick because the pig will eat it. Now there are more dogs being trained to do the search.
The dog – wasn’t told its name – was gorgeous – as per the photos. Once it found the truffle it just pointed its nose toward it and stood there waiting to be patted, fed a thankyou then off to another one. We all thought that the truffles for our trip had been planned previously because the dog rushed off to the next tree before the first truffle had been picked up.
The truffle farm we went to was not very large and 2 large tourist buses had got there long before we arrived so it was difficult trying to take photos and get into the little shop/café. Also our farmer did not speak much English – in fact he didn’t speak much at all. However I think we got the idea of what happens when they go truffle hunting. It was nice and cool under the trees and I enjoyed talking to the dog after it had been tied up after its great efforts. Very few other people bothered – they were more interested in getting into the shop.
We did not stay long at the truffle farm because we were then visiting Grignan.
Post and photos by eldest sister Muriel. Thank You Muriel.