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Friday, June 22, 2012

A Truffle University?

OK, I now it sounds bizarre but it’s true.  To make it even more wacky, it’s a university for dogs that hunt truffles!  Founded in 1880 by the current owner’s great-grandfather, the Universitá dei Cani da Tartufo is located in the world’s truffle capital---Italy’s Piedmont district.  To be specific, it’s located in the hilltop town of Roddi in the only faculty member’s garage. 

Giovanni Monchiero says that it takes up to four years to train a dog well at his university.  Well trained dogs---and their noses----are essential to finding truffles as these culinary treasures only grow underground.   Now that truffles have surpassed caviar as the world’s most expensive food, expert truffle hunting dogs have become targets of theft…and even kidnap for ransom. 

Monchiero, somewhat of a celebrity in Piedmont, has been featured in magazines such as National Geographic, as well as interviewed by major newspapers around the globe.
His rock-star status was further enhanced from his recent find of a nearly one pound truffle---a monstrous find considering the average truffle weighs less than an ounce.

If you’re coming with us on the Truffle Tour this October you’ll have the opportunity to meet Signor Monchiero when he takes us on a truffle hunt.  Beware….you may need to be blind-folded part of the way as he is extremely secretive about his location for finding truffles.  It’s guaranteed to be an exciting day!

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