True to our country ways, my boys and I went on a impromptu Truffle hunt at the weekend. We had sooooo much fun foraging in the woods!
I can’t tell you where exactly but it was a 40 minute drive from our home, just North of the Downs in Sussex. We met up with Melissa, who is Truffle and Mushroom Hunter, her dogs Zebedee and Ella in a sunny car park, together with the other people on our forage, Stephen & Jeff. She let us smell a truffle which was inside a Kilner jar with some fresh eggs which she explained, were being infused with the odour and we would cook them up when we got back to car park.
We headed off into the woods and after a few minutes we stopped and Melissa proceeded to tell us all about truffles. How and why they grow, where they normally grow and how we were going to find them. Her knowledge and patience with us asking questions when we fielded them was fab! We then headed off the beaten track and watched as Zebedee (a cream Labrador) and Ella (a working spaniel) did their thing. They were absolutely amazing and within minutes, we were all invited to smell the ground where Zebedee had indicated there was a truffle growing. The smell is pretty unique and potent if I’m honest. Not unpleasant at all but very unique and strong.
The dog’s noses were on high alert and we spent the next hour or so, watching the dogs finding truffles every few steps. Ella was very tidy in her indications and never strayed far from Melissa. Zebedee on the other hand, happily wandered off doing his own thing, constantly searching for truffles and boy did he like a truffle! If you weren’t quick enough after he’d first scratched with his paw, he eat it all up before you got there ha ha!
My boys absolutely loved being able to interact with the dogs, finishing up the dig, finding the truffle and then covering over the area where the truffle had been discovered … VERY important for future foraging we were taught! We spent the next few hours wandering and uncovering so many truffles. We saw lots of mushrooms too. A mushroom ID and foraging course is next on my list if anyone fancies coming on one next year with me.
Our final bounty was amazing. I’ve never seen so many truffles in one place! We took some photos and then shared them out before I left a little bit earlier with my boys. A bit gutted as I missed out on tasting the truffle infused eggs but I’m already on the case making my own so I’ll report back in a few days once I’ve let the truffles do their magic. I’m also going to try some truffle Vodka too … no surprise there!
When we got home I cleaned and took two truffles to The Chimney House, near Seven Dials in Brighton later that day where we had a Sunday Roast. We grated one on our dinner and gave the other one to the chef too. The taste is pretty lush!
All in all, a fantastic day out and the foraging course with Melissa is highly recommended. My boys actually did okay and only argued a few times ha! And my thanks to Stephen (for carrying all the truffles in your backpack!) and Jeff for their patience with my boys too.
If you book a lesson with Melissa, tell her I sent you!