L'Herbe in French & Les Tondeuses de L'Espoir (The LawnMowers of Hope)
Orteil + Yoga & Wine? Oh, Those Frenchies!

Gary and Tim's truffle hunt and curious term for "mutt" in French

French Truffle hunting dog oak tree var France

Friends Gary and Tim (who have shared stories here before) are back to recount an unforgettable chasse aux truffes with Christophe (left) and  his dog Cacahuète (Peanut). 

La truffe would have been the word of the day but it was recently featured as one of the Hardest Words to Pronounce. So enjoy this new term, taken from Tim and Gary's story:


    : a mutt, a crossbreed

Example Sentence & Sound File:

La dénomination bâtard, croisé, corniaud, coin de rue, porte et fenêtre, et j'en passe parce qu'il y en a beaucoup, n'est en rien insultant ou dévalorisant pour le chien, c'est juste une dénomination, cela n'enlève rien au qualité du chien. (Luvic, Forum-Chien.com)

The name bastard, cross, mongrel, street corner, door and window, and I won't go on because there are many, is not insulting or devaluing for the dog, it is just a denomination, that does not detract from the quality of the dog. (Google translation of Luvic's comment)

=> LISTEN: Hear Jean-Marc read the French sentence above

(Dear Reader, let us know in the comments below how you manage to listen to the recording while looking the example sentence. A few of you have written in, asking for help with this issue. Merci!)


 by Gary McClelland and Tim Averill

Above the sound of the cigales and the breeze, we heard “ching, ching” interrupted now and then with a firm “arrête!” as we chased after Christophe and his truffle-hunting dog extraordinaire Cacahuète (“Peanut”).  Our notion that truffle hunting was an old man’s stroll in the afternoon shade was replaced with the reality of dashing between trees in the early morning sun.  Christophe must keep up with Cacahuète because, even as a porte-fenêtre (mutt, literally, “in the door and out the window”), he has developed a taste for truffles and if given the chance is “une chienne voleuse.”   We thought perhaps “ching ching” was Provençal for “chien,” but Christophe explained it was his version of “Tiens, tiens, indicating to Cacahuète that a dog treat reward was being offered.  This works about three out of four times.

Peanut Truffle dog truffe hunter 

Even when Cacahuète was digging atop a truffle, it was difficult for us to see it until Christophe dug it up with his knife.  A few times Christophe cut off a small piece of truffle for Cacahuète to maintain his interest.  Christophe did not want his beloved Cacahuète to get too hot so we harvested for about an hour, gathering about 750 grams of summer truffles that usually go for about 100 Euros/kg.  A few of the truffles were pourri (spoiled, rotten), but most were ready for market.

We had been introduced to Christophe by our favorite Bédoin boulanger Jean-Pierre.  Before and after our chase through his plantation of 1,500 live oaks, we sat around a table in the shade of a tree, discussing truffles, and eating Jean-Pierre’s bread and croissants with truffle butter made from the more luxurious black winter truffles, and looking towards Le Mont Ventoux, le Géant de Provence, in one direction and towards a tall ochre cliff in the other.  We were very good at this part of the truffle hunting process!

Christophe, tall, lanky, and about 35, spoke with a lilting Provençal accent at a relaxed pace that was accessible even to non-Francophone listeners.  He told us the story of inheriting this land from his father and deciding to plant trees to cultivate truffles, which grow around the root system of live oaks.  He started small and initially the trees did not produce, but with agronomic advances and additional plantings, he began to see enough production to make truffles a business.  Christophe’s affable mood only turned when Lauren asked him about truffle oil.  “Ça n’existe pas.  Ce n’est que de la chimie.”   Like other artisans we have met in Bédoin, Christophe sees his work as a calling, an avocation rather than as a way to earn a living.  He shared a few of his truffle secrets but we will not divulge them here!

black truffe truffle earth France


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la chasse aux truffes = truffle hunt
la cigale = cicada
arrête! = stop!
la cacahuète = peanut
une chienne = female dog
voleur/voleuse = thief
tiens = here you go
porte et fenêtre = mutt
pourri = rotten
Bédoin = a village in the Vaucluse
le boulanger = baker
Le Géant de Provence = The Giant of Provence (a.k.a. Le Mont Ventoux)
ochre (from Old French ocre)

Dear Reader, help out with these last two terms regarding truffle oil--in the context in which they were used in today's story. Use the comments link at the end of this post.
Ça n’existe pas =
Ce n’est que de la chimie =

Tim and Christophe

Don't miss Tim's post "False Friends: Faux Amis in French"

Gary and Christophe

Be sure to read Gary's other posts including one about the beloved game of Pétanque, here.



Click on the links to order:

Truffle BUTTER - Ingredients: French butter, white truffle (Tuber Magnatum Pico), natural white truffle extract, sea salt.

Truffle SALT - imported straight from France

Truffle ZEST : Vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free - made with real truffles, can be added to everything such as soups, potatoes, vegetables, eggs, rice, pasta, pizza and sushi.

Field Guide to North American Truffles: Hunting, identifying, and enjoying the world's most prized fungi


Truffle expedition refreshments apero
A few of the characters in today's story, book-ended by Tim's wife Lauren, left, and Gary's wife, Lou, right. Help me thank Gary and Tim and these truffle chasseurs for today's fun and educational story. Leave a comment.

BORDEAUX AND THE DORDOGNE small group tour Sept 18-26 - culture, cuisine & wine. Click here for itinerary.

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