La Cerqua and their Black Truffle Ravioli

Truffles taste even better when you've hunted for them yourself. We had the good fortune to spend  the morning with Christine and Daniele - and trainee Lagotto Romagnolo truffle-hunting dog, Giulietta.

This breed was developed several centuries ago in the Po Delta to hunt for duck and truffles; its nose is particularly sensitive. The couple forage for truffles for a living with their own Lagotto dog, Spuma, and sometimes help to train friends' dogs. The lengthy process starts in puppyhood, playing fetch with truffle impregnated soft balls. 

The beech forests of the Sibillini mountains made a golden and azure-skied backdrop to the efforts to get Giulietta to co-operate; on the day we visited she was more interested in lizards but she is improving. Fortunately, Daniele already had a stash of autumn black truffles. These are the same as summer black truffles but the different environmental conditions mean they're even more superior in flavour. 

Daniele's mum Lisa knows how to put truffles to good use - shaved over ricotta and truffle filled ravioli with yet more truffle shaved over them - the video shows you how.  They tasted wonderful.

If you'd like to spend a morning hunting truffles with Daniele, Christine and Spuma check out their website. They also have an excellent range of truffle related products - one of my favourites is the truffle honey, which is excellent with aged pecorino cheese.