This may just be the most exciting thing that has ever happened to us!
(No, being in Truffle News is the most exciting thing!)
LynLes Pastras truffle hunts are in the news, featured in the travel section of the Chicago Tribune! The story is online now, in print on May 29. CLICK HERE to read all about it!
“A trip to Provence isn’t complete without at least one decadent meal featuring truffles. The precious fungus, also known as black gold, can sell for hundreds of dollars a pound, and its distinctive earthy flavor can be found on seasonal menus and in everything from salt to cheese.
Former Chicagoans Johann and Lisa Pepin are willing to show you if you visit their farm in the Luberon region of southern France. There, the Franco-American couple offer English-speaking visitors a unique truffle-hunting experience.”Kind regards,Lisa and Johann Pepin, www.lespastras.com
Whether they are black or white, big or small, French or Italian, the season of one of the most gourmet products in the world it’s coming! It’s time to hunt truffles!
Did you know there is a special University in Italy for training truffle hunting dogs?
Known as white and black gold, truffles are a very special delicatessen because they are usually found only in some regions of Italy and France. They grow naturally underground, so it is necessary to train a dog to hunt them! Therefore, truffle dogs are the real protagonists of the truffle hunting, as they have the best sense of smell and can detect a truffle even from 100 meters away. In fact, there is a truffle dog University in Italy were they are trained to detect truffles since they are small puppies, being able to find thousands of euros in truffles just walking around the hills, it’s like a game for them! In the past, pigs were used as well but it was very hard to make them stop eating this edible treasure!
Types of truffles.
There are different types of truffles and they mature at different times of the year, depending on the region. Therefore, different truffles are available throughout the year. They are usually classified by their colour, season and region; white truffles are considered more special than black truffles because they grow only at limited latitudes and regions, they have a broader unique bouquet and they don’t need to be cooked to show their intense aromas, so they are traditionally shaved directly on simple risotto, pasta, and egg dishes, allowing the truffle to be the protagonist of the dish. In the other hand, black truffles are grown in more regions and they have a delicious earthy, subtle bouquet, you can enjoy them with meat, risotto and pasta.
Would you like to experience the unforgettable thrill of truffle hunting?
Definitely Italy and France are our favourite countries for enjoying the best truffle hunting experiences. So we prepared for our gourmet food lovers a list of the best truffle hunting tours around the world!
Indulge in a journey into gourmets’ paradise searching for the most valuable truffle in the world! You will be part of the white truffle of Alba celebration experiencing truffle hunting, wine tasting and gourmet dining in beautiful Langhe hills of Piedmont, added to the ‘World Heritage Sites’ List in June 2014. This tour is perfect for wine and truffle lovers that prefer the best of the best!
Go on a white truffle hunt in San Miniato and participate in a cooking class! You will enjoy the beautiful Tuscany in a place that offers you an amazing view with a great food, tranquillity, comfort and not last great wines and truffles!
Spend a colourful day in the rolling hills of the splendid Val d’Orcia, UNESCO World Heritage. Enjoy a truffle hunting adventure with this full-day truffle and cheese tour. Delight in a great walk in the woods with licensed truffle hunters, dogs and spectacular views in the background made of charming hilltop towns and cypresses.
Enjoy a truffle and cooking experience in Tuscany during the fall season with this full-day truffle, cooking and wine tour. You will hunt for truffles with a licensed hunter and his precious dog immersed in the woods and you will enjoy a delicious truffle lunch paired with amazing Chianti and extra virgin olive oil!
Enjoy a weekend break in Marche, Italy, where you’ll become a truffle hunting expert. Experienced chef, Monica will help you prepare a meal showcasing the truffles of the season. You will learn tips on how best to store, prepare and use fresh truffles. Also, you will enjoy a tutored wine tasting of a selection of the red and white local wines, led by a professional sommelier. If you are a truffle and wine lover, this is the tour for you!
Experience an authentic truffle hunting experience with the Truffle Hunters. You’ll take part in an exciting truffle hunt in the foothills of the Sibillini Mountains. Afterwards you will enjoy a fun cooking session at a truffle cookery school followed by a long, lazy truffle-based lunch.
Escape to the serenity of Tuscany for pure tranquillity, relaxation and rejuvenation. This break promises a boost to your wellbeing and a whole lot of fun too! You will stay amongst the vines and enjoy the unique experience of truffle hunting. Your truffle expert will take you to a secret location where you will partake in the hunt for the elusive Tuscan truffle. A delicious, truffle-themed lunch will be served afterwards at a traditional osteria and you will also enjoy a wine tasting in the hotel’s extensive cellar.
You will stay in the magnificent 11th century Villa Maddalena situated in the centre of Montisi, a medieval hilltop village near Montalcino and the package includes your own private chef and sommelier for the duration of your stay. Chef Selina and sommelier Matt work together to create an unforgettable dining experience using the very best local ingredients and wines – including your truffle if you are lucky enough to find one!
Nature has bestowed upon us several luxuries and Umbria has some of our favorites; chocolates, Sagrantino wines and the ultimate, black and white truffles. During this amazing tour, you will indulge in all of these pleasures and more! You will taste Sagrantino wines under an awe-inspiring architectural dome and tour the town where this obscure grape grows. Not yet convinced? You will visit Rome, Todi, Assisi and Perugia and make our own creations at Perugina, Italy’s oldest confectionary! If you like to indulge, this tour will prove to be the ultimate!
This tour allows wine lovers and foodies to experience Provence away from the beaten track with one of France’s most historical countryside traditions. Whether summer or winter you can go on a truffle hunt, sample delicious truffles, world-class Champagne and rich olive and truffle oil. This is a unique and unmissable experience for any Winerists looking to explore and discover Provence.
Winter truffles are one of the best kept treasures in the Lot valley. The soil and climate of the region so come and let your guide unveil the secrets around this noble mushroom. Your private guide will arrange and accompany you to a range of truffle oriented activities such as a truffle market, a demonstration of truffle hunting, a truffle lunch, a winery and the only exclusive truffle merchant of France.
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Go behind the scenes of the world’s most secretive business. Take a tour of a Provençal truffle plantation, learn how truffles are cultivated and truffle dogs are trained, and go on a hunt for France’s elusive “black gold” with professional hunters who know all the tricks of the trade.
You’ll be regaled with stories of successes and sabotage, and learn to tell the difference between the different types of French truffles and the “fakes” from China. Tours are followed up with a sampling of fresh truffle hors d’oeuvres, Champagne and a tasting of our Les Pastras olive and truffle oil. A real treat!
Want to see what our guests say about our truffle-hunting tour? Click here.
Truffle Hunting Tour: Truffle hunt, truffle hors d’oeuvres, Champagne, olive and truffle oil tasting: 70€ per person (winter), 60€ per person (summer). Minimum of 2 people.
Summer season: May 1 – September 30*
Winter season: November 15 – March 15*
* Weather permitting
Please contact us for more information or to schedule your tour.
Johann & Lisa Pepin, www.lespastras.com, +33 6 26 05 30 49
Follow us on Twitter @LesPastras and on Facebook www.facebook.com/LesPastras
50% of the profits from Les Pastras products go to the One Family orphanage in Haiti
With kind regards,
Johann & Lisa Pepin
Riccardo and his truffle-hunting hound Turbo take us to find the truffles buried in the soil around the roots of trees near San Miniato (Tuscany). He explains the life cycle of truffles and shows us how he trains his dogs. We take our truffles back to his house to learn how to clean them and prepare traditional dishes with them, which we eat for lunch — truffles in every course! There are truffles to be found in every month of the year: bianco (white precious) and uncinato (black autumn) from September to December, marzuolo (whitish bianchetto) from January to March and the scorzone (black summer) from April to November. Choose from lots of other seasonal activities to create a personalised tour of whatever length you like including accommodation and transport.
Fee for two people for truffle hunt day: 570 EUR, includes local transport, activities described, truffle lunch with wine, friendly Sapori e Saperi guide to explain and translate; excludes extra snacks and drinks, personal purchases.
Truffles are one of the most expensive types of food in the world, along with caviar and saffron.
So what is the difference between a mushroom and a truffle?
A truffle is the fruiting body of a subterranean Ascomycete fungus, predominantly one of the many species of the genus Tuber. Some of the truffle species are highly prized as food. French gourmand Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin called truffles “the diamond of the kitchen”. Edible truffles are held in high esteem in French, Georgian, Greek, Italian, Middle Eastern and Spanish cooking, as well as in international haute cuisine.
Truffles are ectomycorrhizal fungi and are therefore usually found in close association with the roots of trees. Spore dispersal is accomplished through fungivores, animals that eat fungi.
This means that mushrooms grow on the surface and truffles grow underground!
Dogs, and sometimes pigs are used to sniff them out, and to start digging for the prized treasure.
To my surprise, about 80 species of hypogeous fungi have been recorded in Britain. Most of these were described between 1846 and 1875 by the Rev. J.M. Berkley and C.E. Broome,
It seems that truffles can be found worldwide, including in China and Australia. And Companies are advertising for woodland where they can grow truffles.
Of course, the quality varies greatly from place to place. And there’s a lot of snobbery involved, with several regions claiming that their truffles are the best! But it’s still an interesting subject.
The traditional truffle hunters are very secretive, with many interesting stories to tell.
I’ll be hopefully finding out some of these stories and passing them on to you.
I already have a few!
But I do give my solemn promise to keep any secrets that I’m asked to keep.
I don’t want to be left abandoned in a dark wood, like one lady journalsit was!
And Truffle News will also be acting as a go-between for buyers and sellers, plus advertising all your truffle products for sale.
We will also have a selection of recipes, using the truffle of course.
If I come upon any other interesting edible fungi stories, I will be including them from time to time as well.
Meanwhile, do send us your Advertising, Stories, details of truffle trips, etc.
Send them to email@example.com
Once again I do guarantee that I’ll keep your secrets!