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Published on : Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Guided truffle hunts are one of the most exciting new options on select culinary adventures in Switzerland. One US tour operator, Alpenwild, includes a truffle hunt as part of their small-group and privately-guided adventures in the Swiss Alps.
January 12, 2016 – This summer as tourists head to the Alps they will have no difficulty finding spectacular mountain scenery. But a new breed of intrepid traveler—adventure foodies—will have a more challenging quest as they search the forest floor under layers of leaves for the most expensive food in the world: The truffle.
Guided truffle hunts are one of the most exciting new options on select culinary adventures in Switzerland. One US tour operator, Alpenwild, includes a truffle hunt as part of their small-group and privately-guided adventures in the Swiss Alps. Accompanied by a truffle specialist and dog, guests are guided through the forests of the Jura Mountains in Switzerland while learning about the history and methods of truffle hunting.
What is a truffle hunt like? Accompanied by a truffle specialist and trained dog, you are guided through the woodlands of the Jura Mountains in Switzerland while learning about the history and methods of truffle hunting. After a short hike in the forest selected by the chasseur de truffe, you gather around the expert truffle-hunting dog and watch the culinary drama unfold. Once she starts digging, your guide takes over, reaches into the soil, and extract the whole truffle from the ground. Spontaneous cheers erupt. Guests sniff the truffle-laced earth in amazement. After the hunt, guests stop in a chalet to prepare the fragrant fresh truffles, which are served with butter on a chunk of fresh baguette.
The Summer Black Truffle , nestles silently underground among the gnarled roots of beech, oak, and chestnut. This rare and tasty fungus has gained enthusiastic fans across the globe. Fetching hundreds of dollars per kilo, the truffle exudes a distinctive and exotic aroma when it arrives at peak maturity and maximum flavor.
Pierre Masson, a devoted truffle hunter, explains that no chasseur de truffe, regardless of education or experience, can find a truffle without a canine assistant. “You have to have a dog—one that’s been trained to identify the subtle scent of a mature truffle.” That’s where Yenna comes in. She’s a Lagotto Romangnolo–a breed of working dog with a special nose. She will help you find a truffle if there’s one to be found.
On a late autumn truffle hunt, you drive to a remote woodland glade with the sun peeking through the leafless branches. When Pierre opens the SUV hatchback, Yenna dashes into the forest where it is only a matter of seconds before she begins routing in the leaves and then pouncing and pawing at the soil. As she digs furiously, Pierre rushes to her side where he pokes around with a pointed digging tool until he delicately extracts a mud-caked and bumpy black truffle from the dirt. It is about the size of the end of your thumb.
Participants carefully study the truffle in Pierre’s hand. Black knobby exterior, tan marbled interior, characteristic smell, notably dense and heavy–it is a perfectly formed truffle. Pierre drops the dark gem into his canvas truffle pouch. Together you sniff the soil that has just held this rich prize. From the ground where this remarkable fungus emerged, there is a noticeable trace of the distinctive aroma a truffle gives off at its peak of flavor.