Ukraine: perfect spot for truffle hunting

Truffles are a delicacy in many cuisines, but finding them deep in the forest isn't easy. RT went on a truffle hunt in the Crimea, Ukraine, and found what we were looking for.

“I looked it up on the internet and learnt the Crimea’s climate conditions would be ideal for truffles. The land could potentially have a lot of these highly-priced mushrooms,” Dmitry Chernov, truffle enthusiast, said.

He went out one day and, to his surprise, unearthed a handful. Since then the Truffle Hunt has become Dmitry's obsession, and now he has a companion in his quest – a fox terrier called Nuyra.

In Italy, such a little pup would be priced at up to €10 thousand. But in Ukraine, her owner bought her for only €50. Even though she’s only seven months old, she’s already a professional sniffer-dog, as it takes Nuyra just a few minutes of wild searching to find the desired truffle.

Truffles cost around a hundred euros a kilogram. Crimea has never been considered a truffle region, but Dmitry believes tons are growing beneath the soil. But, for some reason, he is the only one looking for them.

“In Italy, every private truffle business has hundreds of people gathering them every day. We've got the same climate conditions here. Besides, we’ve got no legislation which prohibits truffle hunting in certain months, like in Italy. I only have to wonder why this type of business isn’t popular in Ukraine,” Dmitry Chernov said.

Dmitry says that the smell and taste of Crimean black truffles don’t differ from those gathered in Europe. So they can still be a restaurant hit.

And when Kiev restaurant owner Ciro Orsini tasted the truffles Dmitry had gathered he said: “Amazing. And these truffles are from the Crimea?”

And the question on Dmitry’s mind now is whether buyers in Ukraine will ever be as enthusiastic as those in Europe.