However, that does not interest the dog anymore ! Mario carry on digging and finally found a pin’s head truffle that should weight less than a gram ! He had told us that this year was very bad for truffle. He was right and that was the only truffle we found with him. Luckily, he had preserved truffles at home and we had great pasta with white truffle for dinner !
The dog seems to have identified a truffle at the foot of an oak. He begins digging with its paws and Mario is watching it so that it will not eat it! Istrian dogs used for truffle hunting are called “breks”. They have been trained since they were 2 month. They are "bastardici" (mongrels) but they are highly valuable and their owners would never sell them.
His two dogs were running here and there, searching for the scent of truffle, though it can be growing 20-50 cm under the soil surface. The orders to the dogs were not in Croat but in Istriot dialect. For example, “Ven qua” to have the dog coming back. The woods are thick, with few old trees. The main species are evergreen oaks (Quercus ilex and Quercus coccifera) as well as beeches (Fagus sylvatica).
Mario, the owner of the Agroturizam apartment we had rented in Spinovci had accepted to bring us into the Motovun woods, close to Livade, along the river Mirna for a demonstration of white truffle hunting. Arriving in the Motovun woods, we could hear dozen of dogs yelping and barking but we did not see a single one. They were all in the woods.
Truffle hunters must have a license to have the right to hunt for truffles.
Mario kneels on the ground in order to help the dog. He digs the soil with his shovel and takes some earth in the palm of his hand to smell it. It is really smelling like white truffle ! There should actually be something to unearth !
Hang to his back, Mario holds his tool, a small homemade iron shovel with a wooden handle. Once the dog has spotted the scent of a truffle, it will be used to dig delicately the soil, trying not to wound the tubercle.