A belated look at the truffle dog

It’s been a fairly hectic week (that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it), including a trip that included two nights in Toulouse (very pleasant, thank you). So I am only now writing about the special gourmet market in the centre of Daglan last Sunday, July 31.

This is an annual event, and it doesn’t change much from year to year. There are the usual Sunday-market stalls (honey, wine, strawberries, vegetables), and several more (Champagne, melons, cheeses, sausages) plus places to buy beer and cooked sausages. Since the event takes place pretty much at the absolute peak of the tourist season, our square tends to be packed. Temporary traffic signals are even set up at either end of the main street, so that cars have to take turns snaking their way through the village.

Here’s a look at the crowd milling about Daglan’s main square, la Place de la Liberté:

Mingling among the food stalls.

Mingling among the food stalls.

And here’s a look at the throngs crowded around the cookers where the sausages were being served:

The guys behind the stoves were kept hopping.

The guys behind the stoves were kept hopping.

One of the things you can pretty much count on is that this special market will feature a demonstration of a truffle-hunting dog in action. (Our département, the Dordogne, is famous for its black truffles.) Earlier in the week, construction begins on a sort of miniature truffle field, bounded in by large timbers and dotted with shrubs. Here’s how it looked last Sunday, just before the demonstrations began:

This where the truffles have been hidden.

This where the truffles have been hidden.

As the time approached noon, we were treated to one of the day’s truffle-sniffing exhibitions, with the owner following along behind his dog. A small crowd gathered around the truffle field:

The truffle-hunting dog goes sniffing for you-know-what.

The truffle-hunting dog goes sniffing for you-know-what.

This goes on for quite a while, with the dog occasionally wandering out of the enclosure to sniff something else — perhaps a child holding a sausage sandwich, perhaps another dog. But eventually, the hunter manages to find one or more of the hidden truffles. Here’s another look as it appears to be closing in:

Our shaggy truffle hunter is closing in.

Our shaggy truffle hunter is closing in.

In all honesty, this isn’t the most exciting thing you could be watching, and it often seems like the dog’s owner is doing an awful lot of guiding the truffle hunt — virtually pointing at the truffle that’s buried just below the surface of the soil. Still, if seeing a truffle dog in action is on your bucket list, this is a place where you can tick that box.

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This entry was posted in Festivals in France, Food, French food, Life in southwest France, Markets in France, Wine and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to A belated look at the truffle dog

  1. Now THAT is an obscure hobby! Do they still use pigs to root out truffles as well?

    • loren24250 says:

      Hi Robin! I know that pigs are used to root out truffles, but maybe that is more in Italy. (Really not sure.) Anyway, the knock against using pigs is that they want to eat the truffles, whereas the dogs don’t care. Just give them a dog biscuit as a reward, and they are happy. Or so the story goes.

  2. Sam Hershfield says:

    Wow! Nothing quite that exciting happens here at Lake Rugby .

    You and Jan have all the fun.

    Sam and Jill

  3. loren24250 says:

    Well, Sam and Jill, we are still recovering from the thrills of it all. Time for a nap.

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