They say smell is the most evocative sense. “The strongest memory I have of my father going truffle hunting at night is the rich smell of coffee coming from the kitchen in the middle of the night”. Giuliano, like his father, makes himself a strong coffee before setting off at around 3 am every morning during the white truffle season. He also packs a sandwich with salami just in case he needs some extra energy. The winter months can get really cold so he also takes with him a hip flask with home brewed grappa.
Guiliano talks about the freedom one feels in the woods at night and the strong bond which develops with ones dog. “I use my dog for hunting so we have a very special relationship. She is like a very good friend and it feels like we share a hobby together”. All the truffle hunters I met are very fond of their dogs and enjoy the moments they spend with them more than anything else. The moment when they find a truffle is an incredible joy for both man and dog.
Giuliano has been a truffle hunter for more than 30 years and knows the area like his own pockets. Depending on the weather and the moon phases, he can be almost certain whether truffles are going to be found. He gets it wrong very rarely. Giuliano believes that the “luna buona” (the “good” moon) in the waning phase is responsible for the growth and ripening of truffles, amongst other things.
“How do you usually eat your truffles?” I ask Giuliano, “I usually have them on tajarin, but believe me nothing beats the combination of the smell of a freshly scrambled egg with some grated white truffle on it.” I do. I have tried it and it’s delicious.