After decades as a truffle aficionado (read: enthusiastic consumer), I was curious to see real truffle hunters at work.
Though truffles are a staple of the Umbrian diet and found on menus across this central Italian region, these elusive fungi usually grow under the forest floor and only the nose of a real truffle dog can roust them out. Trained as pups, these canine hunters are used by professional and amateur foragers to locate their woodland treasures.
To see a real hunter (and his human) in action, I spent a day with the delightful Saverio and Gabriella from Tartufi Bianconi in Città di Castello. Saverio took me along on a truffle hunt in the hills surrounding the Upper Tiber Valley and showed me his fascinating private collection of truffle related memorabilia and curiosities back at their truffle processing plant.