You know the song….The Long and Winding Road, I know where the idea came from. The road to Pettino was about a ten-mile long, windy, often one-lane road up a mountain. Mike sat white-knuckled as I drove slowly and carefully to our destination. But when we got to the top, what a view!
We met Mac, originally from Australia, but now a twenty plus resident of Italy. He came backpacking through Italy in his twenties, met a shepherd in a field and walked six hours down the hill with him and the sheep. He met the shepherds daughter. Now they have two children and live around the corner from his father-in-law, the shepherd.
Mac loaded us in his car and drove a little farther up the mountain. Luca drove the other three visitors and the dogs. Yup, dogs. If you want to hunt for truffles in Italy you must have a dog. No pigs allowed. The dogs can not only sniff out the truffles, but they retrieve them. Pigs, on the other hand, sniff them out and eat them up! You can’t try to find them alone, either. You must have a dog.
So we grabbed hiking sticks and headed up, getting a head start on the dogs. So when we reached a good height, the dogs were released and immediately found truffles about ten feet from the car! So we hustled down in time to see the harvested truffles. No problem, there were more. For every truffle the pooches find, there’s a dog treat waiting for them. After an hour, they had sniffed out about several black summer truffles.