For foodies looking for an outdoor culinary adventure this winter, going on a truffle hunt may be just the ticket.
In Romania, the prized fungus can be found in broad leveled forests in the Sub-Carpathian mountains of Buzau and in Transylvania. “The best period to go truffle hunting is October to January, as the autumn and winter truffles are more aromatic, but in Buzau there are also summer truffles that can be found from June,” Juranda Kirschner, founder and president of the Monteoru Renaissance tourism association in Buzau county, told BR.
But one cannot just go truffle hunting on a whim. Specially trained dogs are used to find the fungus, which grows in the soil at a depth of about 5 to 50 cm. Also, the temperature needs to be higher than minus 10 degrees Celsius and below 30 degrees Celsius, otherwise the dogs cannot pick up the scent.
“There are only a couple of truffle hunters in the Buzau area. Most of them export the truffles to other countries. Our association is the only one offering truffle hunting as a tourist product,” she added.
Prices start at EUR 100 per person, depending on the group size and the chosen activities. Alongside an introduction to the foodstuff and the actual hunt, tourists receive a cooking class with an experienced chef and a wine tasting session. Groups are generally of up to 15, maximum 20 people. As for accommodation, there are several three- and four-star rural guesthouses in the area.
And if you find yourself in Buzau county, there are many more things to see and experience. One highlight is the famous Dealu Mare area with its long tradition in winemaking. Several wineries can be visited, and offer tourists wine tasting and cookery classes. The county is also famous for its mud volcanoes. Other options are visiting the Bellu Manor, the archaeological sites of Naeni and the salt water springs in Sarata Monteoru. The more adventurous can go rafting, mountain biking or opt for off-road tours.