Thursday, July 23, 2009

July Trip to France I: Truffle Hunting avec un chien





No knitting content today but lots of doggie content with bonus food pr0n.


Monsieur Édouard, truffle master, lives in such a tiny village in the southwest of France that he is related to everyone, except one. He is a charming, twinkly-eyed gentleman with a passion to educate all of us about the round black mushrooms he finds and ships off to the finest restaurants in the world. Among the things he wants us to know:
-Chinese truffles are no good. Black French truffles are fantastic but the best are the white Italian truffles. The Italians search for their white truffles by moonlight. This is only because they don't want anyone to know where they find them. Lately, black French truffles are being successfully grown in Oregon.
-Cook a truffle and kill the taste. This is why that little bit of truffle in a pâté tastes like nothing. Instead, shave fresh truffle over rice, pasta, potatoes, or eggs. It has a delicate, easily overwhelmed taste that pairs with neutral foods.
After the truffle lesson, it was time to meet the truffle dog, Ti-Touffe. The French also hunt with female pigs. Dogs have the advantage of never eating a truffle. You can find truffles without a pig or a dog, however. Just look in a likely spot under a likely tree to see if there are any truffle flies. Yes, there is a species of fly attracted to the beet-like smell of truffles. Monsieur Édouard encourages the dog by saying over and over in the gentlest, kindest voice, "Je ne la vois pas. Elle est où? Cherche, Ti-Touffe, cherche." (I don't see it. Where is it? Look for it, Ti-Touffe, look for it.) Here's a video from the internet of Monsieur Édouard's dog in action. Safe for Work.



When Ti-Touffe indicated a truffle, Monsieur Édouard asked our daughter to dig it up. Here's what she found:Photobucket
After, we were invited to the garden to eat ravioli with the truffle shaved over it and bread with truffle-infused butter.Photobucket
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