Truffle Hunting at Crete Island
Underground Treasure from Scientific Perspective
A truffle is the fruiting body of a subterranean ascomycete fungus, predominantly one of the many species of the genus Tuber.
Truffles are ectomycorrhizal fungi, so are usually found in close association with tree roots. Spore dispersal is accomplished through fungivores, animals that eat fungi.
These fungi have significant ecological roles in nutrient cycling and drought tolerance.
A plethora of the truffle species is highly prized as food. French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin called truffles “the diamond of the kitchen”. Edible truffles are used in French and numerous national haute cuisines.
In June 2014, A grower harvested Australia’s largest truffle from their property at Robertson, in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. It was a French black perigord fungus weighing in at 1.1172 kg (2 lb 7+7⁄16 oz) and was valued at over $2,000 per kilogram.
Because of their high price and their unique aroma, truffles are used sparingly.
As the volatile aromas dissipate quicker when heated, truffles are generally served raw and shaved over warm, simple foods where their flavor will be highlighted, such as buttered pasta or eggs.
Thin truffle slices may be inserted into meats by suberbly enriching the taste. Some specialty cheeses contain truffles, as well. Truffles are also used for producing truffle salt and truffle honey.
While chefs once peeled truffles, in modern times, most restaurants brush the truffle carefully and shave it or dice it with the skin on so as to make the most of the valuable ingredient.
Some restaurants stamp out circular discs of truffle flesh and use the skins for sauces.
Truffle Hunting in Crete
As hard as they are to find, some trained dogs are extremely skilled in detecting these elusive nutrient gold.
Truffle hunting in Crete can be conducted in very specific forested areas by a few local hunting experts.
Our award-winning travel designers have handpicked those experts who can deliver a unique experience in the ancient Minoan forests of Lassithi Plateau or in the majestic forest of Rouvas above Messara plain of Central Crete.
Our hunters truly love their dogs – Lagotto Romagnolo are medium-sized, curly-coated dogs from Italy specifically bred in part for truffle hunting.
So this unique, scent-driven activity can be a lot of fun for dogs and handlers alike.
“Truffle hunting brings together the three loves of my life: working with dogs, being in nature, and eating great food!” as our hunters say.
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