Meet Visnja – Truffle Hunter in Istria
Visnja is a 3rd generation of truffle hunters of Prodan’s. Together with her family she is running Prodan Tartufi company in Prascari village near Buzet, (Istria) Croatia. Her grandfather started to hunt truffles in the woods nearby their home, where he would often take her mother and her sisters to pass on the art of hunting. Today, Visnja’s life is all about truffles, and it became more than just a job.
She continuously trains her dogs, bringing them twice daily to the woods in search for truffles in order to supply restaurants worldwide, and is currently working on homemade product line.
She was happy to answer few questions and give us insides to the world of truffles.
White truffle season is about to begin. What makes it so special and why is it so different from the black truffle?
Visnja: White truffle season lasts from September 15th until January 15th. It is special for its indescribable aroma and taste and it is known as the most expensive ingredient in the world. The white truffle, rather that the black truffle that you can acutely be cultivated by man, grows only in the pure, untouched nature. The purest ones can be found only in 2 places in the world: Italy and Croatian Istria in the woods around the truffle mecca, Buzet village.
Truffles are available all year round. When is the perfect time for truffle hunting? Do you have your favorite spot?
Visnja: Early autumn is a perfect time for hunting, with the beginning of white truffle season. I enjoy going to our private woods where secret truffle hunting positions have been passed on from generation to generation in our family.
Not everyone knows that dogs are widely used for truffle hunting. They are easier to train and work with than pigs that just want to eat them. How many dogs you have? Do you use a special breed? How long are the dogs trained?
Visnja: At the moment we have 4 dog hunters. 2 of them are trained hunters and 2 are puppies in training. Myself, I train all dogs and spend most of the time with them. They have daily walks in the forest, early morning and end of the day. The dog breed is not as important as the age of the dog. Earlier the dog starts with the training; chances are higher that it will be a good hunter. Some dogs learn very fast while for others it takes longer. Sometimes there can be days and days when dogs will not smell any truffles. This is completely natural as truffles are hunted in their own environment here, without being cultured by humans. As we never know if we will find truffles that day, every hunt brings new adrenaline rush and excitement.
Many readers would trade their jobs with you in a heartbeat! Eating truffles everyday, having long walks with beautiful, smart dogs and living in beautiful nature, who wouldn’t love to live your life! Being a truffles aficionado, what is your favorite truffle based meal?
Visnja: My favorite is Istrian homemade pasta “pljukanci” with fresh white truffles and scrambled eggs with black or white truffles.
You can discover the truffle hunting with Visnja and learn more about her life and family business. She opened the doors to our clients and is happy to offer private truffle hunting tours and share her family moments with you. The tours are custom made for groups from 1 to 40 people and can be arrange all year round. Truffle hunting experience is suitable for all ages. Perfect for small groups, family visits as well as for corporate outings such as team building.
Pair this experience with long weekend in Istria, discovering Istrian Wine & Olive Oil. Enjoy the wellness facilities of the area and great restaurant scene.
Contact us for more information.