Truffle Hunting

In order to spot wild as well as cultivated truffles we must always be accompanied and guided by the specifically trained truffle dogs. Dogs of different breeds can be used for this purpose. Of common use are Labrador Retrievers, english Pointers, german shorthaired Pointers (Bracco Tedesco or Kurzhaar), German Wirehaired pointer and Deutsch-Drahthaar, Portuguese pointer (Vizla), Lagotto Romagnolos, Epagneul Bretons, Springer Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels as well as many cross-breedings. 

Every breed has its specific characteristics and the best choice of a truffle dog shall be formed once all the requirements of the potential owner are pointed. The purely hunting breeds tend to have a wide field of research, strongly developed sense of smell and are generally highly active.  Retrievers tend not to move far from their owner while making an intense and detailed research. Epagneul Bretons and the Springer Spaniels are known for their great strength and stamina as well as their ability to retrieve. The Lagotto Romagnolo is a breed of characteristic obedience and capabilities, bred from italians initially as a water-retriever and then commonly used for truffle hunting.

Don’t forget that the love and patience towards your puppy while training it are of much greater importance than the “genes” of your dog.

Truffle Cultivation

The first attempts of cultivating truffles occur back in 1790-1810. J. Tulon and P. Mauleon (France) were the first to notice the “symbiosis” of oak trees and black truffles combined with the elements of the rocky soil of souther and western France and proceeded on experimenting on how these conditions could be reproductive.  By the end of the 19th century France claims hundreds of tonnes of annual truffle production.

The scientific name Tuber Melanosporum is given to the the Périgord Truffle by Italian mycologist Carlo Vittadini in 1831. During the 20th century Spain and Italy also show high development in cultivating winter truffles competing with France over a range of 10-100 tonnes/year since the 1950’s up to now. This is particularly visible in the Teruel province of the Aragón region where the black truffle represents the first and main economic activity (in GDP and employment). Central Italy (regions of Umbria, Marche, Toscany, Abruzzo, Lazio) also claims high production of t. Melanosporum. By now truffle-growing areas exist in the United KingdomUnited StatesSweden, Greece, Albania, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, New ZealandAustraliaChile  and South Africa

Modern truffle cultivation consists of the combination between soil characteristics, adoptable inoculated host plants, environmental and geomorphological conditions of the area as well as methods and techniques applied before and during the installation of a truffle plantation. In the recent years molecular techniques and scientific studies in various sectors are allowing a great progress in understanding the truffle biology and in applying it over the empirical methods widely used in the truffle cultivation.