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On a quest for truffles ...

Updated: Jun 18, 2019

Ivan led us deeper and deeper into the Motovun forest ... The only sound, the rustling of the undergrowth as we brushed through it, and the frequent shouts out to the experienced Lela, and the newest addition to the Karlic family's stable of hunting dogs, Istra, who was still in training and most definitely lively and ready for action.

There was no defined route ... the dogs followed their noses and we followed them ... when canine activity levels increased, Ivan would quickly engage and assess, moving mouths and claws aside, so that damage could be avoided if there was indeed treasure in sight.

Truffle hunting and harvesting has been the passion and livelihood of the Karlic family for over half a century. Year round the bounty is there to be found ... different varieties of different value and taste dominant in different seasons. Unfortunately we had missed the high season of the white truffle by barely a month, but on the cold damp January morning, the inexperienced Istra still managed to sniff out a Winter Black truffle, the second in the truffle value chain. Youth definitely ruled in the forest that day ...

Treats were deservedly handed out to Istra! We had a treat in store for us too, as Ivan handed the tuber to us for us to enjoy with scrambled eggs the following morning - the breakfast of kings!

Back in Paladini, high above the forest floor, the experience was to continue with a true truffle degustation. The variety and quality of the local produce - quite extraordinary.

Having sampled more than our fair share of everything from tartufata to olive oils to sausage to butter to trufella to cheese to teranino, we had the privilege of meeting Radmila - Mama Karlic, lady of the house, queen of the local forest. Sincere family pride and passion for her trade was very evident in the smiles, photographs and stories that were shared.

The "taste of pure delight" indeed, and a quest most definitely fulfilled ...

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