Searching for Perigord truffles
Enamored with the taste of white truffles in Northern Italy, we were eager to learn about the black truffles (sometimes called “black diamonds”) grown in this area of France. Early one morning, a motor coach took a small group of us on a scenic highway drive and then on smaller roads within the densely forested Dordogne Valley.
About two hours later, we reached La Truffiere de Pechalifour, a small truffle farm nestled in a protected, picture- book hamlet of 17th and 18th century stone houses. Our Viking guide introduced us to Edouard Aynaud, a passionate, second- generation truffle farmer and his trained hunting dogs.
Part agronomist, biologist, teacher, and marketer, Edouard (called a rabassier, French for truffle hunter) taught us about the interdependence of the trees, soil, fungi and water that allow black truffles to grow here. He explained that these hard-to-cultivate, hard-to-find delicacies emerge beneath the roots of his oak and hazelnut trees.
We watched one of Edouard’s border collies scratch and sniff the ground. If we had tails of our own, we would have wagged them when she located a truffle beside one of the trees. The master immediately rewarded his helper with a treat and took over the job lest the collie bruise her precious find.
Then we were invited into his home where his wife, Carole, had prepared a mouth-watering multi-course lunch for our group, each dish served with black truffles. We had truffled toast;
Brouillade truffee, a delicious dish made with whisked eggs, black truffles, butter and rapeseed oil; pan-fried and truffled goose foie gras (another local specialty) and truffled pasta, along with vegetables, salad, cheese and dessert.