One of the most unusual and intriguing things I did in Prague was spend half a day truffle hunting with Prague Truffle.
A group of scientists established Prague Truffle. Therefore, when it came to creating the company’s concept (which, like many really great ideas, was done over drinks in a bar), they used a scientific method. What else would you expect from a scientific group?
Their purpose was to educate and entertain the general public about the art of truffle hunting. Even though I wasn’t a huge lover of truffles, I was intrigued to learn more about them. The majority of my encounter with the flavor came via truffle oil or butter, which I usually find excessively overpowering.
When in Prague, don’t miss out on the following activities that will help you immerse yourself in the city (get them while they’re hot!):
- Prague Foodie Tour
- 1 Nela, the Truffle Hunting Dog
- 2 Wait, Aren’t Pigs Used For Truffle Hunting?
- 3 Training Dogs to Hunt Truffles
- 4 A Truffle Themed Lunch
- 5 A Parting Gift
- 6 Would you like to go Truffle Hunting in Prague? Let me know in the comments section below!
Nela, the Truffle Hunting Dog
On a bright, beautiful morning, I met my guide Marketa and our truffle hunting dog Nela at a conveniently placed park. Following a brief introduction, we launched into some fascinating facts about truffles and the skill of hunting them with dogs.
Truffles, which I later discovered are a kind of fungus, are one of the most costly foods on the planet. They retail for about $100 per ounce. One truffle once earned an estimatedONE MILLION DOLLARS at auction.
Why are truffles so pricey? Because they develop underground and must be discovered by properly trained animals. Moreover, growing a white truffle might take up to 40 years.
While we usually associate truffles with Europe, I discovered that they can be found everywhere except the tropics and northern regions, where temperatures are too harsh. Truffles may even be found growing in my own nation, the United States. Truffles come in six distinct types.
Wait, Aren’t Pigs Used For Truffle Hunting?
I too assumed that only pigs were employed to search truffles, but Marketa explained why canines are really superior and pigs are now largely utilized to benefit visitors. Pigs are currently forbidden in Italy for truffle hunting because they degrade the ecology, and truffles are very sensitive to environmental changes.
A dog’s sense of smell outperforms ours by a factor of ten, and truffle hunters prefer female dogs since male dogs get distracted when looking for female dogs.
One of the primary reasons pigs are no longer utilized is because they start eating the truffle as soon as they locate it, requiring handlers to battle to get it out of their jaws. Numerous elderly truffle hunters lost fingers while attempting to collect lucrative truffles from their pigs’ mouths!
Training Dogs to Hunt Truffles
Dogs are also less difficult to train than pigs. Training starts when they are pups and may cost up to 10,000 euros. This is another explanation for the high price of truffles.
Traditionally, up to 50 kg of truffles were sold every week in peak season in old Prague marketplaces. Nonetheless, truffles are now legally protected in order to conserve the natural truffle supply. Therefore, our guide exhibited Nelas’ hunting skills with truffles that had been strategically placed across the area.
Despite the fact that we increased the difficulty of the trials, Nela discovered the truffles we concealed for her with ease.
We went truffle hunting during the day but discovered that most truffle hunting is done at night since the dogs are less distracted. Dogs truffle hunt better when they are hungry since they have been taught that truffles are food. Like pigs, dogs will attempt to eat the truffles they discover.
Older truffle hunting dogs assist in the training of younger canines by mimicking what the older dogs do.
After seeing Nela correctly locate every truffle we buried, we proceeded to a neighboring restaurant for the day’s highlight: truffle tasting!
A Truffle Themed Lunch
We were given a creamy chicken spaghetti and invited to shave as much truffle as we wanted over it. As previously said, I didn’t believe I was a lover of truffles, so I just took enough to be courteous.
I was mistaken. Oh, very wrong.
Fresh truffles are heavenly. These taste nothing like the truffle oil I’m accustomed to, which I’ve since realized is probably phony.
Fresh truffles have an earthy taste that is robust but not overwhelming. When fresh truffles are shaved into a heated meal, they heat slightly and release their scent and taste into the dish.
I grabbed the truffle and the shaver, and basically showered my spaghetti with shaved black truffle. I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed something I didn’t think I’d like at all.
A Parting Gift
Lunch over and my newly found love of truffles realized, we started to say our goodbyes. We were each given our own full truffle as a farewell present before we departed.
I had no idea what to do with mine, but Marketa was kind enough to provide alternatives. One of the nicest and simplest ways to consume truffle is to shave it over scrambled eggs. Such a scrumptious way to start the day!
Would you like to go Truffle Hunting in Prague? Let me know in the comments section below!
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Practical Information: To book this trip, go to Prague Truffle.
I’d like to thank Prague Truffle for asking me to join them on this trip as a guest. As always, all views are mine.