Perhaps you've heard of the Oregon Truffle Festival that happens at the end of January each year, but did you know that these rare and delectable fungi are available right here in Seattle and its environs? The savory Oregon White, Tuber Oregonense or Tuber Gibbosum, and the sweet Oregon Black, Leucangium Carthusianum, grow in Douglas-fir forests from southern British Columbia to Northern California.
For years, the most common method of harvesting truffles was by "raking", actually raking up the soil, roots, and mycelium of the forest floor and sifting through it for truffles. Not only is this method destructive to the forest floor habitat, but often results in harvesting truffles that are unripe and lacking in flavor and aroma.
A much more sustainable method, and one that ensures the harvest of ripe truffles, is to use trained dogs. While many breeds are capable of foraging, the ancient Italian Lagotto Romagnolo breed has long been used for truffle hunting. Their superior olfactory sense is able to detect the VOC's (volatile organic compounds) released by the ripe truffles underground.
To learn more about northwest truffles, watch these dogs in action, and taste these rare delicacies, join us on a foray before the season ends!