The hunt

Truffle hunting is regulated by a regional calendar; White Truffle hunting occurs between late September and late January; the best time is from All Saints day to mid December. The truffle hunter must have a licence.

The truffle hunt always occurs with the aid of a trained dog called “Tabui” in piedmontese, which does not belong to specific breeds, but rather is a cross between breeds, and it is also frequently used also for game.

The hunt is almost always a nocturnal activity because the dogs are less distracted and the truffle hunter can move about more freely, away from prying eyes.

An essential truffle hunter’s tool is the zappino (small pickaxe), in piedmontese “sapin” which he uses to dig, widen the hole and take out the truffle which has been previously identified by the dog.

It is a very delicate procedure because the truffle hunter must be careful not to damage the truffle and the small roots.

This activity is not as simple as it may appear: it requires all the experience and self-control of the truffle hunter.

It often happens that as the truffle hunter digs with his zappino he damages the truffle breaking it into several pieces; other times many small truffles called “balin” (smaller than a hazelnut) are found. These truffles are not sold, but used to train the younger dogs.

Once the truffle has been extracted the truffle hunter must cover the hole with great care and attention to prevent it being easily identified by other truffle hunters and to guarantee the formation of the truffle for the next season. Each truffle hunter jealously and attentively guards the places where he finds the truffles and always tends to follow the same route, with the same dog.