It is time to say goodbye to summer as we look to more seasonal and hearty products like pumpkins, squash, chestnuts, mushrooms ….and let us not forget it’s time for our black diamond… the black truffle. Despite the sun still not relinquishing her warmth, the cold reached our fields, and it is now time to enjoy harvesting with our dogs as well as some more unusual guests. Wild game and inquisitive rabbits keeping us company as we make our way to the truffles. Truffles are like mushrooms; high temperatures make them an easy target for maggots. We are extra vigilant in our maintenance and care when we harvest at the exact moment. – our dogs help us to achieve this.
Today I will share our experience of training Tina, our truffle-hunting dog! Tina is a 4-year-old Brittany breed. Brittany breed dogs are specifically bred for truffle hunting. Coming from such a truffle-hunting genealogy makes work and harvesting faster – so we get to the freshest truffles in no time at all. We had to focus on training her sense of smell. Truffles are hidden in rocky and muddy ground so the dog can be easily distracted if not properly trained. We are already thinking about growing the family to be even more efficient as the harvest grows. The whole truffle-hunting training was based on gaming and positive reinforcement; and was easier than we thought! At the beginning we added truffle to Tina’s food, so she associated the truffle aroma with food. Secondly, we taught her to find her toys and bring them to us. The toys were replaced with fresh truffles, firstly at home and progressing slowly to the woods. Remember to always to praise and treat your dog!
Tina’s training was supported by group truffle-hunting as well as imitation is one of the most powerful training methods.
Tina associates truffle-hunting with a game where treats abound so she gets excited about visiting the fields and abs playing!
Now to business…The Black truffle fair calendar starts in December and the Sarrion fair is a must for those who are not only interested in learning about truffle farming and harvesting, but also for foodies! Winter black truffle (Tuber melanosporum) is very versatile and can be added everywhere… delicious meatballs with truffle sauce, broken eggs tapas with grated truffle, truffled infused cheese accompanied with truffled beer. By visiting The Sarrion fair, you not only will be able to visit this amazing village, you will contribute to rural development supporting local farmers. Please come and taste our truffles and products and absorb our local culture, sights and gourmet experiences. A Sarrion welcome is like no other!