This trained dog digs up buried treasure worth as much as $900 a pound

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This trained dog digs up buried treasure worth as much as $900 a pound


Mila smells the aroma of buried treasure in a field of hazelnut trees north of Placerville, then paws at the ground, indicating to Staci O’Toole that deliciousness is hiding beneath the soil.

Mila is searching for one of the most expensive culinary delights – truffles. Known as the “Truffle Huntress,” Mila is a Lagotto Romagnolo dog specially trained to seek the tuberous fungi that grow alongside the roots of hazelnut and oak trees.

Earlier this month, Mila and four other truffle-hunting dogs searched for the luxury fungi in O’Toole’s truffle orchards – fields of cork oaks and hazelnut trees whose roots were dipped in truffle spores before being planted. Looking out across the rows of trees, the truffles are impossible to spot. The black nodules grow underground.


Truffled Wild Turkey-Anyone?

Can a more perfect match be found for the indulgence and excess of ones Thanksgiving Feast? We Americans apparently aren’t the only ones who enjoy a good old stuffed bird as it is the French that took it to a whole new level having dined upon Dinde Truffee centuries ago. According to Brillat-Savarin, the father of French gastronomy, wealthy Parisians were consuming hundreds of Truffle Stuffed Wild Turkeys in the late 1700’s from November to March, coinciding with the Truffle Harvests. The recipe was quite simple 3-4 lbs of truffles poached in lard stuffed into the turkey with truffle slices slipped under the skin for good measure. The bird was to sit for a couple days to infuse the flavor and then wrapped in fat and roasted (bard). At today’s going rate of up to $2,000lb for Alba White Truffles(T. Magnatum) it would be surprising if Truffled Wild Turkeys were available for anyone!

Apparently the Coyotes at the ranch didn’t get the message… whilst traipsing through the truffiere several weeks ago trying to ascertain the ripening of the Perigords under foot, the Truffle Huntress and I came upon what appeared to be very limited remnants of one of the resident wild turkeys. A few long tail feathers and a half dollar size of skin with a few pin feathers was all that remained. It certainly explained the ruckus we had heard the night before coming from what seemed to be right outside the door. It was actually quite frightening as it was nothing like we had heard before; the yips and howls that we hear nightly in the distance. It apparently was a full on feeding frenzy with growling, shrieking, crying and screaming that lasted for only about a minute but seemed like twenty as it sent shivers down my spine as they finished off their kill. I hadn’t contemplated that we could have a resident pack on premises and it got me thinking….

Were those damn Turkeys scratching up and eating the truffles from our Tesoro Mio? I had seem them in the truffiere previously and they had even left their calling card of scratching marks and small divots but I had assumed that they were eating the hazelnuts from the truffle trees, snails and unwelcomed insects and had considered them friend. Could it be possible that they were instead infusing themselves with truffles albeit immature?? As expected the sightings of wilds turkeys become scarce prior to the preparation for the holiday feast. I wont have a chance to test the hypothesis this year but have put the wheels in motion to make sure we have it all figured out in the weeks and months to come. As for the Truffled Wild Turkey, I am hoping that I will have the opportunity to try the Dinde Truffee next year stuffed with Tesoro Mio Perigords. In the meantime I have found a great website to order fresh wild turkeys and truffle butter for a lighter version of Dinde Truffe. I’ll let you know how it goes and you let me know if your interested in learning more about the website.
Wishing you the bounty of the season!

Every day we’re Trufflin’
Staci & Mila aka Truffle Huntress

I Love Fall

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It’s Cornucopia of all things Autumnal. The bounty of the Harvest Moon, the return to a new school year and its promise of learning, breathtaking fall foliage and falling back in time. That wonderful free hour of time to snuggle back into bed on a chilly frosty fall morning to dream about the anticipated abundance of the Black Perigord Truffle Season!!!

The promise of all that is Truffles- The treasure hunt of harvest-exploring and learning at the upcoming festivals-the decadent truffle laced foods and the wine pairings! It is the Season to reconnect with nature, old friends and new as we indulge our passion for the miraculous fungi with its heady aroma and mouthwatering prospects.

It is no surprise that it is my favorite Season. Mila and I hope to see you in the Truffle Patches, Truffiere’s and Classrooms as we leads forays and demos at many of the upcoming festivals. Tickets are still available (see Below) to all but they are going fast! If we miss you at the festivals we hope you can join us at Tesoro Mio for a Truffle Experience to reap all the bounty and abundance the Fall Cornucopia represents!


Happy Hunting!

Staci & Mila


11/18-11/20 th. International Truffle Expo-Woodinvale, WA

Jan 13th-16th Napa Truffle Festival, Napa CA


January 27th-29th Oregon Truffle Festival, Eugene OR


February 6th-11th Barcelona Truffle Tour. Barcelona, Spain