Adventure gastro tour “Truffle hunting – from the forest to gourmet dishes”

Daily Tour 2 days, 1 night
Tryavna, Bulgaria Tour Guide: Екатерина Терзиева

Did you know that there are Bulgarian truffles that smell underground in the Balkans, Ludogorie, Shumen plateau, and Strandzha? In fact, even during socialism, it was rumored that in Bulgaria there is a delicacy mushroom. For its development in our country, the saplings imported from abroad help during the powerful afforestation campaigns. Then many lindens, pines, oaks are planted. It seems that the roots of some of them were “infected” with the mycelium of the valuable fungus. In the 80s of the last century, an Italian expedition came to Bulgaria to explore the terrain and locate the truffle deposits.

The first Bulgarian black truffle was discovered between Ugarchin and Lovech. Several long-lived mushroom pickers are looking for the mushroom and will soon find white truffles as well. That’s how it all started in 2004. The big boom for Bulgarian searchers was in 2014 when large quantities of truffles were found. Today there are tens of thousands of truffle hunters in Bulgaria. Helpers in this endeavor are specially trained dogs that detect the specific smell of ripe truffles, although they are hidden underground.

There are about a hundred types of truffles in the world, but not all of them are valuable from a commercial and culinary point of view. The most expensive are white truffles, followed by black ones, which are called “white gold” and “black diamonds” because of the price.

What makes truffles such a valuable food? In ancient Rome, these mushrooms were believed to have a healing effect. In the Renaissance, truffles were used as an aphrodisiac. Only in the XV century in Italy from truffles began to prepare delicious delicacies. Truffles are a very strong antioxidant – it cleanses the body of toxic and carcinogenic substances. Eastern healers use truffle juice to treat the eyes. In Italy, truffle extract is the main component of cosmetic masks. But its most famous application is in higher gastronomy.


Place of departure / arrival

Plovdiv. Possible transfers from Sofia, Stara Zagora, Gabrovo and Veliko Tarnovo and other cities by prior arrangement. The program starts at 9.00 am in Vratcheshki Monastery “St. Forty martyrs”.

Hours of departure: 07.00 am from Plovdiv through the Trakia Motorway. Meeting at the Lukoil gas station on Tsarigradsko Shosse Blvd.


The price of the tour includes:

  • One breakfast 
  • Two lunches 
  • A three-stage wine tasting 
  • Tasting of different types of cheese with truffles, creams with truffles and brandy with truffles 
  • Dinner with meat dish with truffle sauce included 
  • Presentation about truffles and how to find them 
  • Detailed presentations about the visited sites, led by a licensed tour guide 
  • Transport, including off-road jeeps in the mountains 
  • Truffle hunting with a trained guide and dogs 
  • Overnight 

The price of the tour does not include:

  • Entrance fees for the visited museums in Veliko Tarnovo and Tryavna 

Opportunity to purchase

Opportunity to buy wine and gourmet delicacies with truffles.


What to expect?

The gastronomic adventure tour “Truffle Hunting – from the forest to gourmet dishes” is for all connoisseurs of quality food, aristocrats at heart, and adventure lovers. The tour presents an exotic and lesser-known for Bulgaria livelihood – truffle hunting, including tastings of gourmet products with truffles and wines typical of the region.

Apart from tastings of different types of cheese, sausage, and terrine with truffles, elegant wines from the region of Lyaskovets and Suhindol, the tour also includes a cultural program with a visit to the glamorous capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom – Veliko Tarnovo, Dryanovo monastery “St. Archangel Michael”, in the cozy Revival town of Tryavna.

We will meet the people and stories behind:

  • Truffle hunting in Bulgaria 
  • Training dogs to hunt truffles 
  • The production of the first Bulgarian cheeses with truffles 
  • The wine traditions of Lyaskovets and Suhindol 
  • Dryanovo Monastery 

Itinerary

Day 1: Gourmet and wine with the smell of truffles in Veliko Tarnovo and Tryavna

Our walk begins in Veliko Tarnovo – the city that was twice the Bulgarian capital – once of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom and once again after the Liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman slavery. We visit the Tsarevets fortress with the patriarchal church, the church “St. Forty Martyrs ”, the Museum of Wax Figures, Samovodska Charshiya – the original old bazaar with shops, in which authentic crafts for the region are preserved. At noon the gourmet tasting begins – we try three types of wine from the wine regions of Lyaskovets and Suhindol, skillfully combined with cow cheese with truffles, duck terrine with pieces of truffles and fat duck liver, goat sausage with truffles, bread with cream cheese, and for Digestive – the first Bulgarian brandy with truffles. In the early afternoon, we stop at Dryanovo Monastery “St. Archangel Michael”, founded during the reign of Tsar Kaloyan. The Holy Monastery played a key role in the preparations for the April Uprising. In the afternoon we arrive in the cozy town of Tryavna and walk along the old square “Captain Grandfather Nicholas” with the clock tower from 1814, visit the Tryavna school with the Museum of Crafts, the Humpback Bridge from 1844-1845, Daskalov House. There is an opportunity to see the house-museum of Angel Kanchev, the native house of Petko and Pencho Slaveykovi, the Church of St. Archangel Michael. Accommodation in a guest house in Tryavna. For dinner, the main dish is meat with truffle sauce. Overnight. There is an opportunity to see the house-museum of Angel Kanchev, the native house of Petko and Pencho Slaveykovi, the Church of St. Archangel Michael. Accommodation in a guest house in Tryavna. For dinner, the main dish is meat with truffle sauce. Overnight.

Day 2: Adventures in the Balkans – truffle hunting with jeeps and dogs

Early in the morning after breakfast with traditional food for Tryavna, we embark on a great adventure – truffle hunting high in the Balkans. People once believed that truffles are formed by thunderstorms that fall near trees, that they “ripen” just at the full moon, that they appear in mystical places or under enchanted trees. Others thought that in order to find the best truffles, they must be endowed with magical abilities and that they themselves could enchant, heal, bring good luck or misfortune. All the superstitions and legends surrounding truffles are understandable given the limited places in which they are located, their exceptional taste, their price as jewelry, and the unique way in which they are collected. They grow spontaneously under only a few species of trees, under strictly defined soil and climatic conditions. Collecting truffles is an art and resembles the search for treasure. To search for this treasure together, we will travel in off-road jeeps in the Stara Planina forest, cross the forest, and specially trained dogs will help us find our first truffles. A professional guide will answer all questions in the field. We return after 4-5 hours. We have lunch in the house, and before leaving Tryavna we can enjoy the most famous local specialty – sand coffee, served in ceramic cups with white jam. Each participant in the truffle hunt will receive a certificate plus a surprise gift. We return after 4-5 hours. We have lunch in the house, and before leaving Tryavna we can enjoy the most famous local specialty – sand coffee, served in ceramic cups with white jam. Each participant in the truffle hunt will receive a certificate plus a surprise gift.

NOTE: For truffle hunting in the forest, the participants in the tour should wear appropriate, if possible high shoes and their feet should be covered.

 

The green truffle forests of the Tryavna Balkans and the majestic hills of Veliko Tarnovo - the town of the Assenevtsi dynasty

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