Langhe in Autumn: colours and scents
An idea of the colours can be seen in photography ,whilst unfortunately for now, the scents can not be appreciated , even if the smell of the truffle ( in piedmont dialect ‘ trIfula’ ) is very strong.
Colours like aromas are ‘sensory experiences’ and only experienced live…
Who looks for/ finds the truffles? An inseparable duo, ‘ il trabuj’ ( Piedmont dialect for the dog trained to find the truffles) and il ‘Trifulau’ ( Piedmont dialect for the dog owner and searcher of the truffles).

This is the right time, the hills are coloured in all shades of yellow and red, there are the truffles (le trifule) and for part of the autumn there is the ‘International Alba fair of white truffles’ until 27 November’.
People from all continents visit , looking to understand something from the ‘Trifulau’ (truffle hunter) and the future ‘trabuj’ (dog searcher of the truffles).


The Trifulau, or truffle hunter

In my fathers times, almost only peasants went hunting for truffles. They did it in Autumn, when grapes had been harvested and wheat had been sown, to earn a little more money and, possibly, to make up for a bad year.

You couldnt improvise yourself a trufle hunter: you needed good stamina, for the long and tiring walks after a hard days work, but also courage, to walk alone at night through valleys and hills with the danger of bad encounters.

Trifulau & dogs

Hunting truffles is a way to live moments in complete freedom, deep in the silence of nature, in a time of year when the colours and smells of autumn are enveloping; it’s gratifying to see the dog “at work”, admiring his skilful way of moving about sniffing the ground, selecring every scent and readily answering orders. Its a precious thing, being able to share all this with an inseparable friend!

The Trifulau is a lonely and very reserved figure, who shares a very close bond with his dog and with nature. He becomes one with his dog while hunting, and every time they re-enact an ancient ritual made of looks, signals and incitements that culminates in the irrepressible and liberating outburst of joy when a truffle is found.

Trifulau & dogs

The Trifulau usually moves by night, for various reasons: the weather conditions are better for hunting, the dog is less distracted, and the darkness and fog help hide from prying eyes. When the ground is covered in snow, he takes long detours to his secret places, leaving misleading trails in other directions for other hunters to follow and sometimes even simulating a find near trees that don’t hear truffles at all!

He walks with great agility and skill, overcoming every kind of obstacle; he knows every ditch and slope by heart. He knows when truffles grow, and the trees that bear them; how to tram his dog and how to reward it and, finally, he knows that a good truffle is worth a fortune!

Natale Romagnolo

Trifulau & dogs

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