My Travel Blog

Truffle Hunting with an AK-47

Today was our first full day on Rabelo.  It was time to sit back and enjoy the cruising life.  Julian said he was taking his guests from Apres Tout truffle hunting, and suggested we join them.  We had a phone number for the chateau where we should meet, but the driving instructions were not very clear.   Fortunately Kevin volunteered to join us.  All I can say is, it was a good thing he did the navigating. Better yet Kevin took us wine tasting after our truffle hunt.

Dressing for a hunting expedition has always been difficult, but when you have never hunted for truffles it is almost impossible.  When we were ready to leave I came out of our cabin dressed in full camouflages gear, carrying an AK-47, and a Glock 9mm side arm. You can never have too many weapons. Lisa insisted I lose the camo gear along with the armaments.  She sure knows how to put a damper on my fun. 

We made it to the chateau without incident, though the place was a bit tired and run down. At least the old chateau backed up to a dense forest where no doubt the truffles were hiding. Julian and his guests showed up just a few minutes after us.  We were first given an introduction to truffle hunting.  Unfortunately, our guide’s English wasn’t much better than my French, and thus impossible to understand. At least he did show us some truffles he had recently killed.  Boy, was Lisa right.  Those truffles were no bigger than a walnut.  My AK-47 would have turned them into truffle soup. Our guide introduced us to his truffle-hunting dog Alf.  I figured he used Alf to flush the truffles out of the underbrush so we could kill them. What I really needed was a shotgun. 

“Direction to our truffle hunt.”

“The chateau where we met for our truffle hunt.”

“Alf the truffle hunting wonder dog.”

Alf was an incredibly smart dog.  He knew that you can’t eat just any truffle.  They have to be the right age.  If they are too young they don’t taste right.  If they are too old they begin to rot,which didn’t make much sense, but who was I to disagree? Alf was able to tell which truffles were the right age just by sniffing them. I had heard that truffles only liked oak trees, but our guide explained that they also like pine and hazel nut trees. They hate fruit trees, which I couldn’t understand because I really like fruit. There are many different types of truffles, but in Burgundy there are only three.  The Burgundy Truffle is the most common and the black truffle is the most expensive. I don’t remember what the third one was, but who cares?

“Our guide and his trusty dog Alf.”

“Kevin and our guide walking back to the car after our truffle hunt.”

We had to drive about a half mile to where the truffles were supposed to be hiding. Alf was very excited, and took off running.  I was positive he would find us some truffles to kill.  Was I disappointed!  Every truffle he found was already dead.  Worse yet, someone had gone to the trouble of burying the little fellers.  All Alf did was find their lifeless bodies and our guide dug them up.  Most of the truffles Alf found had been buried so long they were already beginning to rot.After an hour of hunting for those little buggers I concluded that truffle hunting wasn’t my cup of tea.  If there isn’t a ton ofblood and guts left on the forest floor then why bother?

At least back at the chateau they gave us a beautiful plate of truffle pate, truffle sausage, and even truffle dessert. For something that looks like what a dog leaves on the grass they were actually pretty good. It does take a little time to acquire a taste for truffles, as their flavor is so delicate.

“A delicious plate of truffle everything.”

“These street musicians were so good we ended up buying one of their CD’s.”

“Red poppies in bloom.”

“Lisa finally got her garden on Rabelo.”

For a different approach to the adventures of cruising check out my wife’s blog:  You’ll be glad you did.

-Tom Miller
Author of “The Wave”  and “When Stones Speak”– 
Chuck Palmer Adventure novels


About the Author:

Tom Miller graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He is a consummate adventurer with over 1,000 dives as a recreational scuba diver, and an avid sailor who has traveled 65,000 miles throughout the Pacific including the Hawaiian Islands. Miller has also cruised the canals of Europe on his canal barge and given numerous lectures on cruising the canals of Europe, as well as sailing in the South Pacific. Piloting is also an interest of Miller's, and He has completed over 1,000 hours flying everything from small Cessnas to Lear jets.