Truffles have long been a treasure find in dishes from Michelin rated restaurants around the world. Of course, many of the best hail from France where, along with fine wines and chocolate, they are one of the country’s most highly prized epicurean delicacies and aphrodisiacs. And no, these aren’t the chocolate kinds sold in Godiva.
Earthy and robust and from the mushroom family, truffles are sometimes referred to as “the diamonds of the kitchen.” Indeed, they are often sprinkled over dishes to elevate a good meal into something much more extraordinary and have been highly sought after since Greek and Roman times. They are grown underground and are among the most expensive foods, selling with certain varieties selling upwards of several hundreds of dollars per pound (or between one hundred and two hundred an ounce)!
Join AmaWaterways on a visit to one of France’s most distinguished truffle growing regions and visit a beautiful truffle farm to observe specially-trained dogs in action as they hunt for these treasures. Truffles are so elusive that neither man nor machine can locate them on their own, relying on canines’ keen sense of smell to find the fungus, which grows underground. A variety of dogs can sniff around and be truffle hunters, including Labrador Retrievers and Lagotto Romagnolos. However, they must first go through a special training process, teaching the dog to be alert for the particular aroma since the fungus is not something a dog would usually look for on its own. Farmers teach their dogs these new tricks in several different ways, often coating an item in truffle oil and having the dog fetch it in return for either a doggie treat, play toy or fun playtime.