From tiny acorns grow bloody great truffles…


This is Gollum, a truffling pig of some repute. I spent some time with Gollum and his master whilst shooting a feature for “D” Magazine (The best of Dallas and Fort Worth is the strap-line) in Perigord. On that particular day Gollum was not at his best…maybe he had had his fill of truffles or was just being pig headed, but what was clear was that he was not in the mood for rooting. This disinclination to root for the fabled fungus would have passed unnoticed had it not been for the troupe of paying guests, the cream of Texan society to boot, who were not only keen to see Gollum root, but were more than happy to pay handsomely for the product of his rooting. Gollum, not giving a fig for pecuniary gain nor for Texan high society, sat down on the job. He settled on his haunches and looked as glum as a Gollum can, which is pretty glum. His master, the owner of the truffle farm, was having a bad day.His lively truffle hound was also suffering from a surfeit of truffles and was refusing to sniff anything but Gollum’s bum and it was raining. All of these things are bad for paying guests….and for finding truffles. Apparently the best way to spot the hiding place of a truffle, once one is the the neighbourhood where truffles are known to lurk, is the sighting of two truffle flies circling around a spot on the ground. Beneath that spot lies black gold….except that the highly specialised truffle flies don’t care for the rain. And so our happy band progressed through the charming woods of Perigord with a squealing pig being dragged along on its arse, a  truffle blind hound prancing through the undergrowth searching for anything that wasn’t a truffle, a very pissed off truffle farmer and a band of disillusioned Texans slowly coming to the realisation that they had about as much chance of success as did their forebears in the Alamo….and me, faithfully recording each and every wonderful moment.

Truffle farmer

About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
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47 Responses to From tiny acorns grow bloody great truffles…

  1. Mad Dog says:

    Any chance of swapping Golum for a black poodle and bringing him over to the UK? I believe there are some good places for truffles in Hampshire and the New Forrest in particular 😉

  2. suej says:

    Barbecued Gollum…sounds just like his namesake, being engulfed by the flames of Mordor

  3. One of my close friends moved to Dallas several years ago. For her going away party, I got a beehive and wore my gaudiest jewelry to send her off to the land of “Big Hair and Bling.”

    I’m sure Gollum kept them entertained, regardless. 🙂

  4. Amanda says:

    Wow I had no idea Texans used pigs too. I thought it was the sole province of the French. What a gorgeous picture. I’d love to see more. I really love this post.

    • No, you’ve misunderstood. The pig and the truffle farm arein France and the Texans had come to watch the proceedings. They were clients at an up market cookery school in Perigord, and this was an outing as part of the course….learning to cook with truffles, as you do….:)

  5. Amanda says:

    LOL i totally read that wrong. That’s what happens when I sneak a peak at your blog from work. I absolutely love this hunt. Continuing an age-old tradition. 🙂 Thanks for the great post.

  6. Sally says:

    I’m adopting Gollum now (although perhaps life in the UAE is optimistic!) laughed out loud reading this. Brilliant

  7. Capturing such frustrated disappointment on film is gold in and of itself, Roger. 😀

  8. saucygander says:

    Pure gold! The story and photography, that is, not the truffles. I like Gollum.

  9. anne54 says:

    Truffle pig –1; rich Texans — nil. Perfect result (unless the pig is now pork, of course!)

  10. Don’t tell the Texans that I laughed … loudly. You painted the picture perfectly!

  11. Vicki says:

    Can’t a truffle pig have a holiday once in a while. I mean to say we humans don’t perform 100% all the time.

    I think Gollum needs a holiday.

  12. fransiweinstein says:

    LOL! Given his audience was a bunch of Texans, Gollum is lucky he didn’t end up as a mess of baby back ribs and some pulled pork sandwiches.

  13. Flora says:

    Loved the story Roger. I think Gollum needs a break 🙂

  14. Oh dear. I’m sure somehow the Texans survived. I would be a little stressed if I was the owner of the pig!

  15. Michelle says:

    I think Gollum sounds very wise.

  16. Karen says:

    It sounds like no one got to pig out that day.

  17. Hystercial and it sounds like quite a bizarre day 🙂 Gollum is a cutey but am beginning to see the attractions of suckling pig!

  18. chef mimi says:

    Oh my god. Hysterical!

  19. Sorry to be so predictable, but I’m absolutely besotted with Gollum and deeply admiring of his ability to piss of hordes of moneyed tourists…

  20. Great post! Next to following pigs truffle-hunt, I want to see a truffle auction—they’re apparently very intense but fascinating.

  21. ChgoJohn says:

    “… each wonderful moment” indeed. I doubt I could have stopped myself from at least smiling broadly. That truffle farmer is so not happy.

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