Let me preface this post with one thing. I don’t really like truffles. Yup, that’s right. So why on earth did we go truffle hunting, and why is it my favorite thing we did in Provence? Here’s what happened.
Kelly at La Belugue planned our day and highly recommended a truffle hunt and tasting. I’m not a big truffle person, neither is my friend Kristin. But Ali saw it and said oh that sounds cool! And I thought, you know what, that does sound cool. Even though I may not enjoy a truffle, I think the whole concept seemed really interesting and what a once in a lifetime opportunity to hunt truffles in Provence. As we got closer to our big outing in Provence, I grew more excited about this truffle hunt that would include cute dogs to hang out with.
Little did we know, we’d end up having the best time and all fell in love with truffles. Not only was the tour interesting, and so incredibly cool, but we ended up learning so much about truffles and truly learning to appreciate this interesting food.
We started out the tour with a little history about the couple who owns the property, Les Pastras. Johann and Lisa inherited the farm from Johann’s grandparents who had no idea there were truffles growing on their property. People were taking advantage and stealing truffles in the middle of the night. Once they learned about the literal gold mine in their backyard, they turned this farm into a truffle farm. The family teamed up with this adorable Frenchman who has two even more adorable truffle hunting dogs. We were greeted by wagging tails and then it was off to work for the dogs.
The dogs sniff them out in the ground and let their owner know they found something. We followed them around the farm until they found something and watched them do their work. They typically dig them up themselves and will bring them to you. But sometimes they’re too hard to get to for the dog, and preferably you don’t want to damage the outside, so it’s ideal to get to it before the dog claws at it. One was really in there, so I volunteered to help dig it out with a very nifty tool, a screwdriver.
After about a dozen truffle finds, we headed back to their home at the top of the hill to try a variety of truffle dishes. The owners were so incredibly welcoming and had this sweet sign waiting for me. Like I said, they were so welcoming and hospitable! The champagne was flowing and we were ready to try some dishes.
It’s incredible how different a real true fresh truffle tastes versus the truffle fries or truffle oil crap you get in the states. Many times we’re either eating old flavorless truffles and just being charged an arm and a leg, or it’s artificial flavoring. It’s more common to be served something terrible, than something truly fresh. After trying several truffle varieties, even truffle ice cream topped with their own honey, I can confidently tell you that I’m a truffle fan! My favorite was eating it on a slice of cheese with a drizzle of honey, but I also loved it sandwiched between bread with olive oil. Basically, I could’ve eaten them however they served them. I’m now an addict!
Photos by Curious Provence