National Geographic : 1956 Sep
The Diffident Truffle France's Gift to Gourmets Doisneau, Rapho-Guillumette WINTRY sun smiles wanly on a farmer's wife and her sow as they roam the hills above Souillac in southwestern France. Together they search for truffles, a fungus fruit prized by gourmets the world over. Tugging at the leash and sniffing like a fox hound closing on its quarry, the sow suddenly halts beside an oak. She grunts loudly and rubs her snout in the soil. Hastily the woman tosses a few kernels of corn to divert the animal's attention; then she bends and scoops up the earth with a trowel-like utensil. Several inches below the surface she uncovers a small, black, warty tuber-the elusive truffle, whose flavor long has made it popular in sauces, stuffings, and garnishes. Human sense of smell can rarely detect the piquant perfume of the buried fungus. Most French truffle seekers hunt with pigs. In Italy dogs lead the search. Sardinians use goats.