Truffle Hunting | Wild + Whole Sourced

By | December 6, 2022

Danielle visits the Pacific Northwest to learn about the elusive truffle, and their importance to the forest. She forages for wild, native truffles with Alana of Truffle Dog Company, and visits Cartwright Trufferie to explore cultivated Perigord truffles. What’s fascinating about this fungi is their unique aroma and the way it changes your perception of taste in common ingredients. Danielle and Simon cook with truffles in a variety of ways. Inspired by her trip, she takes what she learned back home to Texas and applies it to other common mushrooms.

Check out more from Danielle and the Wild+Whole crew here:


Check out the gear the MeatEater Crew uses in the field here:

Follow us:

Every meal has a story to tell that is If you're willing to look for it I'm Danielle Pruitt and I started wild and Whole with the mission to reawaken our Connection to food And to empower us to develop meaningful Relationships with the ingredients on Our plate You're not just farming sustainably You're regenerating as a cook I'm driven By curiosity and my inspiration Springs From harvesting ingredients directly From its source I've spent the past Decade of my life trying to eat Consciously and believe me it's not Always easy but it's taught me the value Of our food and resources and of course It brings me so much joy in the kitchen I want to challenge your perception of What food is where it comes from and how Those two elements are woven into our Lives [Music] Because connecting to our landscape Through food means so much more than Just the calories that sustain us Welcome to Wild and whole sourced As winners fog Fades over the Pacific Northwest Adventure here to forage for every Foodie's favorite ingredient [Music] Tucked under these mysterious Evergreen Forests lies The elusive truffle

[Music] When I heard that they were both Cultivated and wild troubles growing Here I couldn't book my flight fast Enough Today I'm going on my very first truffle Hunt with Alana of triple hunting dog Company Never So I love love mushrooms I love cooking Them eating with them and I love Foraging for chanterelles back home but The one mushroom that is always eluded Me are truffles I've never even eaten a Truffle so I started doing research and I found out that you can actually find Wild Truffles and so uh we found you and Here in Washington they're native They're native yeah they grow here in These beautiful forests with Doug firm And in the winter months so you know the Rainier and the colder and the wetter And the grosser out it is the better the Hunting and we have two types so we're Going to be hunting primarily for our Native black truffles today but we may Find some native white truffles too and We're not going to do it alone no no we Need help from our little canine friends So this is Lolo she is she's very Excited she is a lagoto Roman YOLO which Is the breed that they use traditionally In Italy and then we have Ruby who's our Golden who's probably hovering around

You train the these dogs yourselves yeah So we train we teach other people to do This for fun too but yeah so these are Dogs that I've trained to do this for Hunting yeah so they're the ones with The equipment I think it's amazing that Like we can come out here and find them In the Wilds because I I guess I've Always thought of truffle as this like Ingredient that had to be shipped from Italy and to know that it's native here And that it's something that you can go Out and do yeah yeah with the dog it's Really it's really Treasure hunting in the woods and They're excited I know this one's ready To go Lolo takes off and within moments finds Our first you don't need to rip the Whole plant out Is that it that's it wow [Music] So you see it right there so the only Way I knew that was there one I can Smell it I feel like there's more to it I can't describe all the things it's Does it have a cake batter Aroma like a Bread like a raw egg Um or like you know have you ever had Like cookie dough and you're like what Is that taste to it it's the actually The raw egg that's like a sweetness to It okay I don't know maybe I'm making This a lot I feel like it is extremely

Complex they do have well they are and Like they'll all be different so Hopefully we'll find another one right And you can compare them Incredible that she's able to find that It's I mean dog sense of smell is so Amazing while the dog's King sense of Smell makes finding truffles precise and Minimally disturbs the soil it's Important to always place the soil back After digging to leave the smallest Trace possible Oh hold on The Oregon black truffle has a complex Suite Aroma that can sometimes be Perceived as tropical fruits or even raw Cake batter I'm okay with this good dog come here so See if you can see it yeah it's fine We're getting you're getting a nightly Sister this this see if you can find it Yep You ready I just cannot believe how Fruity these are yeah you have to go if I want go dogs aren't the only animals That can sniff out spores dozens of Animals dig up fungi for a snack oh my Where though There we go yeah If you spot some fresh diggings make Sure to look around chances are you Might find yourself in the vicinity of Some wild edible truffle this one's Amazing it's nice yeah

He looks like she's having so much fun The Pacific Northwest forest told the Key to Growing truffles the Douglas fir Roots generate nutrients for the Mushrooms to thrive Truffles also tend to like wet soil Making this spot Prime travel real Estate It's difficult to describe the smell of A truffle because I pick up so many Different things all at once is there More can you show me like a black or White white the winter white truffle is Incredibly intense because it's so Little oh my God I smell pungent onion Aged cheese but look at how strong that Is even gasoline because it's like Imagine if you took cheese and aged it So long that you could light it on fire [Laughter] But I don't even know that makes any Whites will normally be like that size Would be pretty big for a white that is Tiny tiny tiny tiny tiny [Music] Alana explains how unfortunately raking For truffles causes damage to the Mycelium endangering these forests but Using dogs like Lolo and Ruby to truffle Hunt is not only fun and rewarding it's Sustainable too we got one puppy see it Smells okay though good girl Ruby good Girl how cool good job good job we are Real what a good Ruby come here

Okay yeah so that was an amazing day and This is an incredible spread yeah I'm Glad you could come out it's super fun Um you're gonna have to explain to me Everything that we have on this table Because it looks delicious let's go Through it so I'm gonna start with this One which is a white truffle infused Salami right because we weren't sure What we were going to find a bunch of Them so we want to make sure you could Try it this is a Parmesan that's been Infused with the white truffle as well a Little bit of honeycomb to go with that Which is super good these are an infused Cream cheese with a sardine little piece Of black truffle on top that's from Today yep that's from today we just got That and then this is a cheese that's Infused with paragord truffle that You're going to be hunting down on Simon's Farm tomorrow that's so exciting So three truffles Two are native one is the Paragould Awesome yeah here we go oh my gosh I Can't believe we found this today How was it is it good oh my gosh This is so good This is like Has a lot going on it's like just a Little bit of sweet from the Truffle but It's not over it's not you smell it more Than you actually taste it yep Well I'll be curious to see what you

Think of the white ones then because It's a totally different flavor profile Should just try it yeah try it let's see Whoa oh my God Oh my oh my God I told you Whoa so a little goes a long way with Those oh my gosh Like I could feel it coming out of my Nose whoa that is so intense I feel like That I should have probably eaten with The cracker okay I'm gonna try it try This see if that works This is so like that just like hit me in The face like a train That work Okay I wasn't sure I haven't tried that Before but it seems like a good combo I still taste it it's still like very Pronounced but with the honey it's like A little smoother all right yeah last Little Slice yep The parable Just it's interesting to see your take On it Oh wow Different There's something grassy about it okay Yeah It tastes like more than one thing Absolutely that was such an experience I Feel like I tasted a whole lot of things I've never tasted in my life and it's Really exciting yeah and I can't wait to

Go to the Cartwright treffery and dive More into this paragord and now it's Cultivated and just experience more of The culinary side of the infusion and Cook up some really nice stuff yeah this Is what we call Fields breath yeah yeah Awesome cheers thank you so much yeah Thank you for coming out it was fun My next stop is Cartwright schoffery in Eugene Oregon where Simon and Lynette Cartwright study research and cultivate Truffles for culinary Pursuits Widely recognized as experts in the Region they're a resource for restaurant Tours and enthusiasts alike So this is a truckery oh my gosh it is Insanely gorgeous so I had an amazing Time uh going foraging for wild native Truffles and I think there's an element Of surprise about it that was just so Much fun but today I am really Interested in digging a little deeper And learning more of the science behind It because I know it cannot be easy to Actually cultivate a trouble and that's What you've done what we've been doing Here is actually the paragoulds which is A completely non-native species it's Actually a European species that we're Trying to cultivate here your first tree Was planted in 09 yep okay how long did It take to get your first truffle uh our First truffle was 10 22 on February 22 2014. so it took five years five years

For the first that's a really long time That's that's nothing compared to what a Lot of people wait really yeah 10 13 Years it just it it can be a very very Long time and then after you get your First one it can be a long time before You see lots more yeah so this is not Something you just get into thinking Like oh I'll just start making truffles You're in investing yes so much time and Energy it is farming it's still a very New and unproven uh farming method here In the United States and particularly Here in the Pacific Northwest what You're saying is we're just on the verge Of discovery about Chuckles absolutely Yeah even though they've been harvested In the rest of the world for thousands Of years I think your story is so Interesting and I'm really excited to See what you've done what you've planted Do we have a dog to help us we do Perry We're gonna be bringing our little Brittany out with us okay and uh and Hopefully we'll get out there and find All right well let's go do it awesome Hair okay so ready The fungus has three forms there's the The Ecto part which actually forms a Sausage scheme around the outside of the Root the fungus and the Cooperative relationship or symbiosis Instead of feeding on decomposing matter Like most other mushrooms truffles

Actually depend on a living growing tree Through photosynthesis their leafy Companion provides the truffles with the Sugars it needs to survive The Truffle spores produce thin Filaments called mycelium that wrap Around the tree's roots like a fuzzy White sock As the mycelium grow they continue to Branch out into the soil forming an ever Expanding fungal web that's much larger Than the tree's actual root system this Mycorrhizal web collects nutrients from The soil and in return feeds the tree The fungi freely grow enhancing both the Soil's microbiome and the tree's Nutrient density now that's a win-win For both plants and fungus This way Did you find something Where where is it oh is that work there I think the cultivated paragord mushroom Smells nothing like the native truffles We found in the wild It smells of both the damp Earth forest Floor and of hazelnuts Yeah it's very very subtle But I do to me I just keep picking up a Nuttiness A little earthy but muddy The Culinary value of a truffle isn't Necessarily the Truffle itself but its Powerful aroma I often say that we eat with our eyes

First but the truth is our smell Influences our perception of taste Before we ever take a bite this is why I'm so excited to cook with truffles I noticed some of your recipes have Infused ingredients and from my own Personal reference with infusing it Means sort of steeping and and sucking And you're doing it very differently Here yeah this is a little ball of Goodness we place it in here with the Avocados the cream the butter basically Everything we can why because all those Volatiles are being laid off and they Will attach to the fats and oils that Are available to them so they're they're Infusing by just being in the same Container yes right here's the mushroom The mushroom is actually in this little Container right up the top Sorry Oh my gosh that whole jar smells like it That's amazing this tiny little thing do You ever Heat this like do you ever Infuse anything in like by steeping in Milk or does the heat do something but It sounds like the Paragould it will Handle a bit of hate well actually when We do the bread and butter pudding we'll Put something with the milk and cream That we're going to bring up to Temperature to make the the custard lots Of little tricks for you lots of little Tricks all right well we can put this

Back in here does it just go like this Yep okay and then we can make our butter For the bread pudding yes perfect So now we get to make a dessert yeah This is this is the um bit where we Don't tell Weight Watchers what we're Doing no look bring on the butter oh Awesome that's what we love to hear yeah So first part of this is making some Truffle butter Pizza okay and again Getting back to the infusing uh we've Actually had this butter infusing for Four days now really Oregon black Oh yeah so you're gonna add more to it Yeah first step is put the butter in I can do that And we're gonna grate the Truffle you're Going to write a insane amount of black Truffle in there are you gonna tell me When uh when your heart says So uh now that we've got the bread and The butter done we're going to make Custard go on top of that so you've done An awesome job of chopping those two Piles of the Oregon black one is going To go into the cream half cream half Milk that we've put together that's just Going to come up to temperature to steak And then we need to temper the eggs Right correct correct and uh we'll just Thicken it up slightly then we'll pour It over the the bread and butter and get It into the oven I've got it oven at About 375. okay okay what do we have

Next to eat next uh we're going to do a Crab and avocado yeah I like that He told me ahead of time that the [Music] Street or truffle this is one of those Dishes that it's so quick and easy to Put together but it's everyone's Favorite and we're going to do Paragraphs we're going to do Paragould Because that's what we grow here and we Personally think it's the best Great so how do you assemble this what We're going to do is slice up the Avocado that avocado is being three days In the in the Truffle Locker so it's It's got the paragord infused into it Yeah I smell a little I'm going to take The lump crab that you guys got Yesterday we've done beautiful Dungeness And I'm going to add some chopped up uh Paragord into that So the Moment of Truth I've always Wanted to do this by the way Before I start shaving this I just want To take a second and admire like how Insane this looks It's just so cool I just think it's Amazing So Cheers Cheers thank you oh my gosh this Looks amazing That crab is really freaking good Oh my gosh The Paracord is nice because it does not

Overpower the crab but it's still Present because there's so much glutamic Acid in the Truffle it's actually it Helps open up your tongue's receptors so Everything takes on you know a bit more Of its flavor it's like Nature's MSG Yeah you can see why people Uh once they get the Truffle but kind of Crave crave the Truffle bag yeah sorry Yeah I'm sorry this is your fault this Is my fault I'm sorry I like it Um So Simon I think one of the things I'm Most fascinated about truffles besides The fact that I really haven't gotten to Work with them until now is that I know Aroma plays a huge factor in the way That we perceive food and I don't think There's a better ingredient that Represents that than a charcoal tell me Why are we choosing cauliflower or the Oregon whites they have such an intense Garlic note as well as this onion Hazelnut oh they're intense yeah yeah we Really we really need something that's Going to buffer and that's one of the Things we notice a lot with people when They first start to cook with truffle is If they don't think a little is a lot so Cauliflower soup is a great introduction Because it's like this buffer for that As well if we go a little on the heavy Side we're not going to hurt us but it's Kind of like a blank canvas we're really

Experiencing that shuffle yeah A triple has a very short shelf life This and the fact that it's so difficult To cultivate makes a truffle very Expensive Naturally we want to make the most out Of it by infusing it with fatty Ingredients allowing a single truffle to Be used in various ways Okay I can't wait to try this but I Think before we put the chocolate on There I just need to know what it tastes Like all by itself what a great idea so I'm just gonna dig in here That is so smooth and creamy Oh that's really good it's very Comforting That's very good and it's it's really Simple and it's it's good on its side Now I need to try it Yep and for this one really the Oregon White is the way to go Grab the Truffle out of the fridge Because we always like to keep them in The fridge I feel like you can smell it from a mile Away Um it does settle down I don't know if It's my nose it's getting useful After the initial heat so yeah it does And remember with the whites a little is A lot so okay you tell me Okay now you could go a little more than That are you sure

It's a little more Okay I'm really excited to see what you think I am too I'm like kind of nervous but Confident Oh wow that's so much more subtle But it does add a lot more Aged flavor to it like a little it's Just The same way like you would Age a cheese Or age of meat you're intensifying Basically the flavor of what you're Actually tasting yep I was not expecting To like this because I'm not gonna lie Based on like my reaction to smelling it So intensely this is very good Last but not least the best part of the Meal bread and butter putting fresh out Of the oven I don't think there's Anything is there is there a proper way To do this nope whatever way you feel Oh it's way crunchier than I thought it Would be and now truffle whipped cream Which is the craziest thing I've ever Heard of [Music] So spoiled Yeah Okay I think I've done enough damage Thank you Mmm that is really good That I feel like it's so fruity and it's Amazing that we didn't season it with

Anything but truffle yeah I feel like You just put a bunch of fruit in there This is an incredible way to finish this Trip and I can't thank you enough Sharing with me your orchard and how you Prepare things Um because it's something that I've Never gotten to experience before and I Feel like I got like the red carpet so Thank you so much Thank you for coming it was just Wonderful to have you and the whole crew Here thank you After this unique and memorable trip I Wanted to cook a special meal of Reflecting what I learned I wish I could Say there was a mushroom to substitute For a truffle but there just isn't However her methods of infusion inspired Me to take a fresh look at the way I Cook with mushrooms I took out my dried mushrooms and Blitzed them into a powder to use as a Spice rub for venison steaks It's Umami flavors intensifies the Savoriness of the meat and the earthy Notes enhance the flavors that make Wild Games so unique I also infused the dried mushrooms into Heavy cream the smell is intoxicating Like a rich bowl of cream of mushroom Soup after straining I used that cream To make a sweet dessert a luscious Chocolate porcini puta creme and I know

What you're thinking chocolate and Mushrooms believe me when I tell you That these two ingredients create an Incredible Synergy because they share Similar aromatic compounds It's like tasting chocolate in a way I've never had before you'd never know That mushrooms were infused into the Cream but without it it just doesn't Taste the same Oh man It's cooked perfectly Nothing compares to a truffle all right Cheers cheers and there is so much to Learn about the way they grow and their Culinary uses in the kitchen Their importance to our forests their Smells amazing their taste it's intense All contribute to its Allure I'm excited for the future of farm Truffles and I'm inspired by Simon and Alana's approach to making it more Accessible to the average person like me