Truffles from the Garden of God

Gourmand Sensation on the Pelješac Peninsula

Truffles from the Garden of God

The discovery of truffles in the small village of Bilopolje, overlooking Orebić, on the Pelješac Peninsula is a true sensation for mushroom gatherers. During the season, the owner of the village household Panorama, Mrs Marija Jurković, gathers around four kilograms of the delicious black truffles. Prepared with pasta or anglerfish carpaccio, they have made this village an unmissable gourmand destination. Although in Croatia this tuberous strong-smelling fungus is mainly found in Istria (rich in Europes top quality white truffles), the guests of the Panorama show great interest in the Pelješac truffles which Mrs Marija finds in the countryside around her house.

Before establishing the village household where she is the heart of the kitchen, this Pelješac bride born in southern Herzegovina, a herbalist familiar with the secrets of nature, presented her friends and relatives with the truffles which she had found.

- I have never sold a single gram of truffles, nor wish to do so. They are intended for the enjoyment of my guests and friends. They are surprised to be served truffles in a village household, and astonished at the fact that I have been gathering them around my house for years. I found them a long time ago, yet I got confirmation that they were the so called winter black truffles some two or three years ago from Dr. Roman Božc, the best Croatian mycologist. I sent him several truffles for analysis. He was extremely happy on finding out that they were Tuber Brumale, which confirmed his thesis that truffles grow all over Croatia. Black truffles reach the price of 600 Euros per kilogram on the market, whereas the white ones cost up to 2 thousand Euros per kilogram. The Pelješac prize truffle which Mrs. Jurković found weighed about 30 decagrams, and she thought that her heart would break with excitement while she was removing soil from it.

- All my life I have been fond of plants and medicinal herbs, so nature rewarded me eventually. My intuition tells me where to find truffles. I feel the place where they might be under the ground, and uncover them with the spade which I always carry along. If the tuber is a small one, I do not take it out and let it grow. If I am barefoot, I feel truffles under my feet, and the places where I find them are so different that they have nothing to do with the customary idea of hardwoods, oak-trees, etc. They grow about 15 cm under the ground, and when the warmer season approaches they seem to try to come out in the sun - says Marija Jurković. The fifty five-year old lover of nature long ago stopped paying attention to those who mocked her in disbelief for her discovery of truffles on the Pelješac Peninsula.

- Truffles are gifts of God, growing like eggs, with no leaves or roots. I have never denied that they grow in this area and that I simply know where they can be found. I do not own them. They grow in the garden of God which is at everyones disposal - claims Marija Jurković from Bilopolje on the Pelješac Peninsula. My exploration of herbs is a passion matching that felt by hunters or divers in the sea. The truffles I find are gifts of nature which has rewarded me for the love and respect I have for it.

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