In an effort to stay safe but still connected, I’ve been looking into more socially distanced outdoor activities this year than usual. For one of my best friend’s birthdays, I took her truffle hunting and then we made dinner virtually with our truffles and ate “together” over FaceTime — such is the reality of celebrations in 2020 but they can still be special in their own way! I got lots of questions about the experience, so here are more details about truffle hunting:
Who I booked: I looked up a few truffle guides and ultimately booked Terra Fleurs because the tour would be private and intimate (up to 4 from the same party), the owner and guide James is super knowledgable, and availability.
Cost: The cost is here + tax and is comparable to other tours I researched. While initially the price may seem steep, it’s reasonable to me because the guide is with you for 3+ hours and you get to keep all the truffles found. We got 10! Our guide said we’d be refunded if we found no truffles but that coming out empty-handed is very rare.
Where to truffle hunt: Not to give up our guide’s spot, but we drove about an hour out of Seattle to the Ravendale area (we all took our own separate cars and followed our guide with no problem). Honestly, even if you had the exact trail address, you absolutely have to go with a guide and their truffle dog. James has an adorable and tenacious Lagotto Romagnolo (Italian truffle hound) named Dino! Truffles are hidden underground and require getting sniffed out, it’s important to forage sustainably, and there are many truffle species and not all are edible, so expertise is needed.
When to go: We went the first Saturday of December, and our guide said we were the first group of the season! I think truffle hunting season may run through spring, depending on weather. Rain, snow, or shine, you can truffle hunt! The only tricky time is if it’s super windy, because that can blow the truffle scent off for the hound.
How to prepare: Wear waterproof hiking boots and waterproof everything if you can, or at least pants and outerwear that you don’t mind getting muddy and potentially snagged. I would recommend a short hooded coat and layers, as you’ll be hiking and stopping a lot, so it can get really hot to cold quickly.
What truffle hunting is like: I didn’t know what to expect haha so I’ll share my experience! Be prepared to hike 2-4 miles and off road. Like pictured, we found ourselves sometimes on a trail and sometimes in a thicket of ferns, sometimes climbing huge hills and sometimes sliding down steep ones. You really go where the truffle hound goes! For our tour, Dino did all the work sniffing and digging, and James would finish digging and find the truffle. We just hiked along and observed the marvel haha. You may be more involved depending on the tour you book.
Feel free to ask more questions in the comments! Or please let me know if you’ve found more fun outdoor socially distanced activities for winter as well!