The weather this winter has been far from perfect. Rain, rain and more rain has been the order of the day. My original aim was to hold the truffle hunt on the 14th or 15th which my weather forecast predicted would be warmer and rain-free. I discussed this with Claude and he felt that February 13th would offer better conditions. So we went along with that.
While Jicky was still confined in the van we hid a couple of truffle pieces to act as a test. Jicky found them both in an instant but they were, of course, relatively easy as the hiding meant the soil was disturbed and they were pretty near the surface. Finding truffles in more compacted and saturated soil was going to be a hugely more difficult task.
Claude and I worked Jicky gradually across the The Truffere and we finally ended up in column A, the region with loads of brulees. He immediately headed for tree A11 and within seconds, almost before I had time to photograph or video him, he had found a small truffle-like clod of earth. Seconds later he stepped aside and Claude gathered a large truffle out of the shallow hole. Actually we weren't even certain they were truffles; they were just lumps of sodden soil but there were traces of black and they had a definite truffley odour so we bagged them for later investigation. We moved on into the new Truffiere and checked out in particular trees with substantial brulees but without luck.
We returned to our entry point by a different route without Jicky getting excited again and made our way to the kitchen to investigate our treasures. We placed the two lumps of soil on a chopping board, still without being certain that they were indeed truffles. It was only when we took them to the sink and carefully scrubbed away some surplus earth that we were certain of our find. They were indeed truffles! Sadly, because of the wet, they had begun to rot and were not edible. But a rotting truffle is infinitely better than none and they are a great indication that truffle harvests have begun and should continue uninterrupted for the next forty or fifty years.
You can find photos of the hunt and pictures of tree A11 on our Newsletters page and a very short video of Jicky's triumph at https://youtu.be/f2lMnasYRTw.