Truffle hunt with dogs in Langley

The B.C. Truffle Association has a unique Sunday event.

Langley is the site of a truffle hunt and lunch on Sunday.

The B.C. Truffle Association has three fundraising events this weekend including the hunt in east Langley using trained truffle dogs and a lunch at Chaberton Estate Winery.

Truffle experts were in Langley recently and found a rare variety.

“We found Tuber borchii (bianchetto) in the orchard. This is the first occurence in Canada,” said Sharman Gamiet, with the association.

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(Tuber borchii photo)

The industry is just taking root.

“There have been native truffles collected in the Lower Mainland for quite awhile, however in the Fraser Valley, cultivated ones have only been collected once on one orchard, and then the T. borchii found a few days ago,” she explained.

The industry is very new to this province but hopes to cash in on international demand for the fungus. For insteance an online gourmet food site is selling white Italian truffles for $383 per ounce (28 grams).

“It takes a lot of effort and time for an orchard to be producing. In addition, trained dogs are needed for harvesting so it is premature to speak about a sustainable truffle industry in the Lower Mainland. There are people with trained dogs who do hunt for native truffles that are sold to chefs. The exciting thing is that we are able to cultivate Mediterranean truffles in the Lower Mainland,” she said.

The truffle orchard consists of specific trees that can grow the fungii.

“Trees have been in the ground for six to sven years, and this is the first year that truffles have been harvested from it,” she explained.

The association will be out in Langley again before the Sunday fundraiser to do more hunting so the chefs will have some to work with.

“If we find many we will give them to chefs doing the Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch. We like the chefs to have them before they prepare the meals. However, if we find many on the Sunday hunt, we will give them to chef doing the lunch,” Gamiet said.

The Langley event costs $80. After a visit to a local truffle orchard where Mediterranean truffles have been harvested, the participants will go to a natural forest where trained dogs will be used for the truffle hunt, followed by the truffle-themed lunch.

There’s also a presentation at UBC’s farm Feb. 6 for $30 and a truffle feast at a secret Vancouver location Saturday evening for $99.

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