On Saturday, the last day with my guide Robert Biro’, we joined a truffle hunt with a small group of people, consisting, among others, of the father and sister of Oszkár Fekete, who had founded Truffoir Ltd for collecting truffles […]
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Searching for truffles in a beech forest

by admin on 09/09/2017

On Saturday, the last day with my guide Robert Biro’, we joined a truffle hunt with a small group of people, consisting, among others, of the father and sister of Oszkár Fekete, who had founded Truffoir Ltd for collecting truffles in Romania and exporting them to big markets, like in Italy.

In order to find the truffles, they had four canine companions:

  • Zsofi – female
  • Kalaro – female
  • Csonti – male
  • Missy – female

Due to a long drought, the dogs hadn’t searched for truffles for a long time such their owners didn’t expect them to be in excellent truffle-hnting shape.

Trufffoir was started by Oszkár about 15 years ago because nobody was collecting truffles in Romania. He and his sister started collecting truffles 7 years ago, while their father started later. Before that, they bought truffles from truffle gatherers and sold them on. Now, they are building a truffle processing factory in Eger, Hungary in order to get a higher price for their products.

Training of the dogs start with throwing a ball in front of a potential truffle dog. If it collects it, they lay a truffle on the ground and see if it finds it and brings it back to the owner. Next, they lay a truffle below leaves and finally they lay it below ground. If the dogs find them, they are on their way to become truffle dogs.

We drove on a gravel road into a beech forest where the truffle hunters followed the dogs, which would start scratching the ground if they found any. Like my previous experience of watching a dog searching for truffles with its owner, the dogs require lots of caresses and treats to work, even when they don’t find anything! Anyway, as far as I could tell, the dogs were given the same kind of treats whether they found a truffle or not. When a dog indicated that it had found a truffle, their human owners would use two kinds of specialised metal tools to dig up the truffle. At least three dark truffles called tuber aestivum with the size of half a hen’s egg were found, but they also found some small ones. Besides, they found some false truffles, which weren’t collected.

romania_truffles

After one hour, the dogs had to go back to the cars for drinking water and after another one, the truffle hunt was finished. It was great walking in a beech forest, watching man and dogs cooperate to find truffles.

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