In the Var region of Provence, most truffle growers own private land where they plant oak trees and inoculate the roots of the tree with the fungal spores. At the Domaine de Majastre in Bauduen, truffle hunting with sniffer dogs is also shown to tourists. In principle, all breeds of dogs are suitable for training as truffle sniffer dogs, “Trufficulteur” Tangay Demachy tells us. This was not always the case, because before 1949, many truffle hunters found it too expensive to keep dogs.
The animals had to be fed throughout the year. The farmers therefore relied on flies. The small fly was an effective indicator of truffle occurrence. Flies like to lay their eggs in places that are free of grass and plants due to the mycelium of the truffle mushrooms. If flies linger for a long time in summer over barren, often stony places near trees, then this place is marked and searched for truffles there later in the year.
After the Second World War, truffle hunting was professionalized. Plantations with oak trees were planted and fenced to protect against wild boars and thieves, and from then on dogs were used. Unlike a well trained and obedient dog, a truffle pig is difficult to control. It is voracious and the truffle farmer must be careful that the pig does not eat the truffle itself. In addition, a pig on a leash is exceedingly conspicuous. Whoever walks with a pig attracts attention and perhaps gives away his best finding spots. Nevertheless, in Aups every year on the fourth Sunday in January the truffle dogs and also always a truffle pig are blessed in front of the church of Saint Pancras.
Travel tips around truffles
The restaurant Le Saint Marc in Aups offers an extensive menu around the truffle.
In the museum Maison de la Truffe in Aups there is a modern audio-visual exhibition about the history and cultivation of truffles in the Var region, which is also easily accessible for children.
With the beginning of the truffle season it is possible to accompany the work of truffle dog and trufficulteur. This is possible for example at the Domaine de Majastre.
General travel information about the Var department.
Human encounters and always culinary discoveries are the focus of our trips. At the international photo agency Alamy you can see all photos of Georg Berg about truffles / start of season in Aups / truffle market / truffle search with sniffer dog / truffle in further processing / truffle in the kitchen.
Photos about truffle and truffle hunting
Truffles are among the most precious edible mushrooms. Production in the northern hemisphere is about 70 tons per year. Increasingly, truffle growers have to deal with drought on their plantations and have to irrigate their trees in summer. An oak tree does not produce truffle mushrooms on its roots until its tenth year. Move the cursor over a photo and more information will appear.
More truffles, black, Tuber Melanosporum
- Truffle breeding (host plant, cycle, truffle breeding on a plantation)
- The truffle syndicate of Aups
- Culinary aspects (traditional truffle dishes, truffle processing)
- Truffles – visit to a global playeron the international truffle market
- All our photos about truffles.
The research trip was partially supported on site by the French Tourism Federation