If you don’t mind getting a little wet and muddy, going on a dog-led truffle hunt in the Pacific Northwest will be one of the most memorable experiences of your life.
This was my sentiment after spending a rainy, cold afternoon out in Oregon’s wine country with Stella Endora Del Tiglio, a two-year-old Lagotto Romagnolo and her proud owner, Sunny Diaz. The two of them drove over three hours from their home in Issaquah, Washington to a patch of Douglas fir trees just a mile or so away from Angela Estate Winery to show us a day in the life of an American truffle hunter. We were all there as part of the Oregon Truffle Festival, a statewide event that has been celebrating Oregon truffles for the last 11 years.
While Stella is the granddaughter of the first truffle dog to ever put a nose to the ground in the US, and has placed second for two years in a row in The Joriad North American Truffle Dog Championship, any dog can be trained to sniff for truffles as long as they are good with their nose and like to get rewarded with treats. The annual festival actually has a whole other weekend dedicated to training dogs and their humans to be aspiring truffle dogs.