SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Staci O’Toole started Truffle Huntress in 2012 after the baby Truffle Huntress, Mila showed up on the scene. Before placing the puppy, the breeder required that she be trained as a working dog and advised that she would fail in a pet home due to her intensity, intelligence and drive. Staci agreed as she couldn’t imagine it would be that difficult or that she would have to surrender a puppy back to the breeder if she couldn’t handle a little furry 8 week 6 lb pup.
Realizing she was now immersed in truffle hunting, Staci called upon her degree in Biological Sciences and began researching and learning about truffle cultivation and nose work. The Education and training took her throughout the United States and finally to Italy where she learned about the breed in its native home of Romagna, Italy. Here she was fortunate enough to attend Club Italiano Lagotto’s annual Rodundo at the Villa of Dr. Morsiani. As one of the founders of the breed he was instrumental in establishing the Lagotto as a recognized pure bred specializing in truffle hunting. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity where she learned firsthand about truffle hunting in the wild.
Upon returning to the states she continued researching and learning about truffle cultivation. She attended growers forums across the United States including the Napa Truffle Festival, Oregon Truffle Festival and North American Truffle Growers Association. Her education is scheduled to continue abroad as she studies the methodology and science of cultivation in Spain, Australia, Croatia and France. Her passion is driven by her love of dogs and the unknowns of the science of truffle cultivation as she hopes to better understand the business to assist the truffle production in her Truffiere in Northern California, Tesoro Mio. She plans to continue to learn and use this knowledge to serve as a trusted resource for her Truffle Dog and Truffiere clients. She is a professional member of American Professional Dog Trainers Association, North American Truffle Society, North American Truffle Growers Association, Lagotto Romagnolo Club of America, Santa Cruz Fungus Federation and serves on the Health and Research Advisory board for the Lagotto Romagnolo Foundation.
Truffle Huntress collaborates with a vast network of contacts in the truffle world including leading mycologists, truffle growers, truffle harvesters and distribution channels.
We met at the Napa Truffle Festival where all things truffles are celebrated; truffle hunts & seminars, truffle lunches & dinners and more. One of the highlights for me a field trip to Robert Sinskey’s Sonoma truffle orchard to see MILA, Staci’s trained Lagotto Romagnolo dog go to work. Wonderful to watch a truffle seeking dog engage all senses and almost all brain power in search of this ancient potent fungi, tail furiously wagging, nose on full sniffing throttle. Amazing also to think that the very thing the French and Italians are best known for – amazing truffles – are being cultivated with some success here in our backyard. It’s only a matter of time.
Enjoy my truffle-filled talk with the TRUFFLE HUNTRESS.
Truffle Huntress‘ Deviled Eggs
Let’s face it there are dozens of great recipes for Truffle Deviled Eggs on the Internet. If you want to take it to the next level try this Truffle Deviled Egg recipe from Truffle Huntress. It will take a few days to get all the ingredients Truffle infused but it will be well worth the little bit of extra effort. Additionally you can add extra ingredients for infusion and extend the use of your precious Black Diamond.
- 8 Truffle Infused Eggs (whole in the shell)
- 2 Tablespoons Truffle Infused Mayonnaise
- 2 Tablespoons Truffle Infused Crème Fraiche or Truffle Infused Sour Cream
- 2 Tablespoons Truffle Infused Olive Oil
- Pinch Truffle Salt
- Pinch dry mustard powder
- Black pepper
- Black Perigord Truffle
- Garnish- 12-18 Thyme Leaves
2 -4 days in advance. Place each of the ingredients into a glass or plastic sealed container. (minus the herbs and seasonings). Make sure that your Perigord Truffle is sitting on a paper towel that can be replaced if it becomes moist (change paper towel every couple of days as needed). If you container is large enough add butter, soft cheeses, nuts, smoked salmon, salumi or any other ingredient with high fat content that you would like the truffle to infuse.
Boil, Cool, Peel and halve the eggs lengthwise. Transfer the yolks to a mixing bowl. Place 12 of the egg halves on a platter, cover and refrigerate; reserve the other 4 halves for other use.
With a fork, ricer or whip-mash the yolks to a smooth consistency. Add the Truffle infused Mayonnaise, Crème Fraiche, Olive Oil, Salt, Dry Mustard and Pepper. Taste a Season accordingly.
Spoon or pipe yolk mixture into the egg white halves. Micro plane or grate Fresh Perigord Truffle onto each egg halve and garnish with fresh Thyme leaves.
For more information on Staci O’Toole, visit trufflehuntress.com