Trees, Mushrooms and Truffles

My name is Melissa Waddingham and I am a truffle hunter and wild mushroom picker. In the spring and autumn months I run mushroom forays, truffle hunts, talks and courses and throughout the year I provide truffle hound training days for your truffle hound to be.

Dates of up and coming events will be posted and group numbers are small with a maximum of ten people so I do advise that you book well in advance. One to one and smaller group forays/courses are also available.

Truffle hunting is an uncommon practice here in England and the rare opportunity to have a go with a trained dog and its owner is an experience not to be missed for a great day out!

Zebedee and I truffle hunting in picture below, taken by Derek Martin from at West Sussex County Times.

I have early memories of foraging with my grandfather in Champagne, France gathering Chanterelles. I was never aware that he secretly slipped out and came home with the odd truffle in his pocket, apparently only for special customers and family as he ran an auberge that was very popular with the locals for his sublime food.. It was my father who told me about my Grandfather and his truffle antics, when I presented him with ten or eleven of my own!  I found this instantly gratifying realising that my passion truly was in the blood.

Foraging for fungi has been a way of life for centuries, especially abroad. In England, mushroom picking seems to be viewed with suspicion and is not a common past time for those living in the country as it is in countries like France, Italy and Eastern Europe. Trends are now slowly changing and more people are more interested in foraging for fungi these days.

Apart from the fact that mushroom hunting can be a deadly past time and needs a professional eye cast over before consumption, mushroom picking codes of practice must be strict and carried out for their sustainability and care of the environment. This is because they play a major part our in ecology which is essential and not commonly appreciated. The relationship that fungi have with trees and other plants is phenomenal and our world would not be the same without them. I have studied forestry and woodland management and my real fascination lies within how woodlands function, understanding all the complex relationships within this environment.

A photo of me when I was working with the arboriculture firm Tree line , for my work experience at Plumpton Agricultural College. Preferred planting trees than chopping them down!

I DO NOT RECOMMEND YOU CONSUME MUSHROOMS IDENTIFIED ON THIS SITE OR ANY OTHER WEBSITE. YOU MUST HAVE A PROFESSIONALS POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION IN PERSON. I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR CONTENT POSTED ON THIS SITE. THIS CONTENT IS TO BE USED AT YOUR OWN RISK.
All my forays are insured and fully covered with public and products liability insurance. 
I am a current member of the British Mycological Society.

All photographs on this site, except for photographs directly attributed to other photographers, are the property of Melissa Waddingham, Copyright 2014.


63 thoughts on “Trees, Mushrooms and Truffles

  1. Hi Melissa,
    Many thanks for sharing your expert knowledge and skills of truffling with Ghyllie and I. The truffle hound training session we did at your home was powerful, fun, relaxed and focused. You and your son, also made us feel welcomed into your home and its important to establish trust.

    The activities and games you set up for us have given impressive results so that we’re already out there searching for wild truffles at home. Looking forward to many hours of happy hunting this winter.

    A shame I didn’t have time this trip to take our training experience a step further going to the woods under your guidance. But…luckily for me Ghyllie is already pointing out the truffles with his paw, so now I have only to fetch a trowel and see if what he is telling me is TRUFFLE.

    Happy hunting!

    • Thank you so much I really enjoyed our day too! I am so impressed with G what a swift learner ! Well done both of you.

  2. Hi Melissa.
    Had a quick look at your site as discussed. It`s all looking very good,i`m impressed!
    Maybe come on a truffle hunt one day with you? I`ll definatley be up for a bit of volunteering when your new venture starts.
    I wish you the best with everything and will help when i can.
    Bob. x

  3. Would it be possible to find truffles in Iowa?? We have a lot of oak trees and the weather is similar.
    We have a lot of morel mushrooms in the spring of the year here.
    We morel mushroom seekers can hardly wait for the season. I?ll return again to catch up with your website again. Awesome Info on mushrooms.

    • Hello, I am rather more familiar with the truffles found in Europe, However I hope this helps, in Iowa you can find the Sweet Truffle (Mattirolomyces terfezioides) in upland mixed deciduous woods, it is usually found in sandy soils and host to bur oak, eastern hop hornbeam, white oak, American lime. This truffle was harvested in 1998 in Iowa for the first time. These truffles are white and apparently smell and tastes like sweet cheese. 5 cm – 20cm in diameter. These truffles were very popular in Hungary. In Oregon I know that they have native species (Tuber oregonense) and (Tuber gibbosum). The Tuber lyoniae, the pecan truffle is found in Texas, New MexicoFlorida, and Minnesota, Quebec and Connecticut. (Reference Ian Hall)

  4. Hi Truffleandmushroomhunter,
    Thanks for the above, Why do you cook? Is it simply because you “have to”? We have been bombarded through time with the idea that someone in the home, usually the woman, has to cook the family’s meals. The above idea presents the concept of cooking only as one of “obligation”.
    Great Job!
    All of us morel hunters can hardly wait for the season. I?ll come back to catch up with this blog again. Fab Post on mushrooms.

  5. I live on 15 acres in NSW, Australia(close to blue mountains) i found it today when my lawn mower got caught on a stump and ripped up some ground.
    Its about the size of a tennis ball, pear shaped. the insides are pure white and similar to the consistency of a marshmallow but not sticky and a bit more rubbery. it has a thin brown skin and it is hard to describe how it smells but ill try. similar to a mushroom, but maybe a hint of garlic or rubber or something.

    The trees i found it under were eucalyptus but there is a bunyapine tree and a few silky oaks. Recently it has been getting cold and its been wet for a few weeks.
    Thats about all i can think of… just ask if you need more info
    We morel enthusiasts are anxiously awaiting for the spring. I will come back to catch up with this website again. Awesome Info on mushrooms.

    • Oh Geraldine I wish I did but sadly not however I do hunts in the UK a rare opportunity to do this in the UK.

  6. Hi Melissa – what a nice blog!

    In northern Thailand we do not have black truffles, but we have ‘Thai truffles’ which develop underground (Astreas hygrometricus). They are actually earthstars which eventually open above ground. Among farmers, it is an important cash crop. People go out with Chinese metal spoons and look for tiny cracks in the ground. We trained our dog to find them – much easier!: http://dokmaidogma.wordpress.com/2010/07/03/a-thai-truffle-dog-examination/

    Cheers, Ketsanee

    • Hello Ketsanee,

      What an interesting bit of information, we have them here but quite rare and not considered edible!

  7. Hi Melissa,

    What a fantastic day! Had so much fun, Bowski obviously enjoyed himself, he was snoring like a pig in the car on the way back. We are going out this weekend to do some more training and try our luck!

    I have passed your blog on to my mate Matt at The Ethicurean after raving about you. I hope you’ll be able to do something together!

    http://theethicurean.wordpress.com/

    I’ll let you know how we get on,

    Liam

    • Thanks Liam, kind words! it was a good training session so glad you enjoyed the fun and games. Thank you for passing on my details, very much appreciated

  8. Thank you for a wonderful day truffle-hunting in East Sussex. Never thought we’d find any but we did and it was fascinating watching Zebedee at work.

    I also enjoyed learning about the ecology of the wood and spotting many different types of mushroom.

  9. I’m so pleased to see what you are doing. Well done you!
    I’m also a little jealous of you having a truffle hunting doggy as I’m soooo keen on getting a pup to train too. Where on Earth do I start?
    Do you know whether there any particular dogs that are most suitable?
    How/ where can I learn to train one?
    If you can asvise me I’d be very grateful.
    Keep up the good work!

    Esther B.
    sl6supperclub@gmail.com

    • Hi Esther, thanks for your message, i can help you with all your questions and puppy truffle training needs and requirements, give me a ring on 07896156664.

    • Thank you for your reply and information, it’s all much appreciated.
      I’m not able to able to buy my own pup for next year but hope to start looking next Autunm so let’s keep in touch.
      I also hope to be able to recommend you to others in the time being.

      Best wishes,

      Esther B.

  10. I went on Truffle Foray today with Melissa and Zebedee. It was a crisp and cold day in West Sussex but the excitement of the hunt kept the party warm!
    It was an eventful morning with sightings of lots of potential truffle homes, but alas they were all bereft of the fantastical fruit. Zebedee kept up the pace and we were rewarded at the end of the day with 4 truffles! – Thank you Melissa and Zebedee whose keen noses smelt out the truffles. I’m about to have mine on my wild mushroom risotto now along with the hedgehog mushrooms we foraged – yummy.
    Great fun, fabulous countryside and a rewarding adventure with lots learned about the illusive truffle.
    I would recommend a guided foray anytime with Melissa and Zebedee.
    Good luck with the next one.
    Regards,
    Neil Thomas

      • And I was part of the party. Nothing really that I can add to Neil’s comments except that I had my truffle on an omelette and very good it was too. Perhaps the truffle was elusive; it certainly wasn’t illusory.

        Bill

  11. Hi Melissa.
    I found your details though a metro article.

    I’m local – ish, I live near Worthing, but spend a lot of my time near Lewes and around East Sussex.

    I’d like to faun some mycological hunting experience. I was aware that truffles grow here for example, but not aware that they are a different variety to Eurooean.

    I watched a guy last year harvesting vast quantities of Chantrelles from dead wood in a very unusual location!

    I grew up in Hampshire and spent my childhood ambling around in woods. I’m pretty damned sure that I can smell out a truffle without the aid of a dog, but need some experience.

    Wrong time of year and abhorrently wet I know, but perhaps we could meet for a pint of Harveys?

    • T aestivum is found in all of Europe except for one country, would like to meet up, will be in Brighton all of next week,

  12. Hi. I have been googling around for hints and tips on how to train a dog to hunt for truffles… And keep seeing your name come up!!
    We are soon to welcome a 10 week old miniature poodle pup into our home and would love to train her to hunt for truffles.
    I understand you sometimes run courses, could you let me know when the next might be?
    In the mean time if you could offer any hints or tips on how to start the training we would be very grateful.
    We are already keen foragers (blackberry, damson, sloes, elderflower, mushrooms) one of our favourites is elderflower fritters!!
    Living in Rottingdean so not far away!

    • Hello Boyd Darling,

      That made me smile, yes I do run courses, e mail me, look in contacts on here and I will let you know about the courses and prices. Thanks for your interest and query.

      Regards,

      Melissa

  13. hello Melissa, I have tried to find the name of a fungus that grows on my property. it hides under the growth of flowers so no sun reaches it and it looks, for lack of a better description, like the poop of a small dog. it is black in colour on the outside, and dry feeling. On the inside when cracked open, is snow white, with a detail of one half having a root like centre, and the other side bearing the central hole of the rootlike thing on the other half….I have only found this a few times and cannot find a picture anywhere.

    • Hi thanks for your enquiry could you send me a picture of your find? sounds like an immature truffle .

    • Hi, I have also found a black fungus near a stump (acer, I believe) It has a sort of soot on it, it is quite hard, not spongey like most fungi I have felt. They are also snow white inside, and in a group of about 10. They were at ground level, not above it. May try Wisley RHS for advice, hoping someone is knowledgeable enough in this field,

      • If they are grouped and long like fingers they could be Dead Moll’s Fingers which grow on de sycamore and stumps, they are white inside and hard as you describe, hope this helps .

      • Hi, have looked at Xylaria longipes, dead molls fingers on the net, and they are not it.. They are about half the size of my thumb, black, irregular shaped and have a powder/soot on them. They do not have a lychee – type bobble skin on them. When my wife has time, she will download a photo for me. I will wash the soot/powder off of one. Many thanks gary

  14. Hi there,
    We are interested in coming on a course for truffle hunting, please could you send us details?
    Thanks,
    Gail

    • Hi Gail, please have a look on this blog under mushroom and truffle forays all the dates are listed, choose one that suits you and then I ask for a deposit to secure your place and book you in. Call me for further information 07896156664 or e mail truetrufflesandmushrooms@hotmail.co.uk to book. Most of the information you will need is on this blog, please also read terms and conditions page, thank you.

  15. Hi Melissa

    I wrote to you last week re truffle hunting as a business as we own part if a forest which is clay bases. Did you receive my message ?

    Regards

    Mandy

  16. Hi Melissa, thanks for your prompt reply. Perhaps if we had left the fungi to grow a little more it may have resembled one of the Xylaria genus a bit more. Its so difficult identifying them, especially at different stages of their growth. Nature seems to have an endless list on fungi.
    many thanks, gary

    • Very good point I always emphasis this. It is important to look at all the stages of growth in fungi as it is so variable from button to fully extended. Weathering and conditions can change the face of a mushroom too as we know quite dramatically. Thanks Gary.

  17. Hi Melissa,
    I have been checking out your site with great interest as I live in East Sussex very close to
    a few woodlands owned by the forestry commission & I spend a lot of my time there foraging & cycling with my dog.
    I would very much like to extend our abilities to include truffle hunting & feel Alfie a 2 year old Labrador/springer cross will make an excellent student hunter as he has a very keen nose & is willing to please.

    Would it be possible for us to embark on some dog training in the near future with you?

    Thanks

    Steve

  18. Hi Melissa, I would just like to thank you for the coaching last week as it has enabled Aflie & I to make good on our training & given us our first find!
    After only 1 baited target this morning we had a small truffle within 15 mins or so, I am very pleased with the results.
    Thank you very much for the help!

    Steve Bell & Alfie

  19. Hi Melissa, I would like to purchase 2 vouchers for a truffle hunt for next year please. Can you please let me know what I need to do in order to book and pay for these as discussed this morning.

    Best wishes
    Suzanne
    07702 736 513

  20. Hiya, looking for a mushroom foraging experience for 5 people in 2014. Please feel free to ring me any time 07834814818 thanks, Tom :-)

  21. Hello, I was wandering if you still run canine truffle training courses? I have a keen cocker spaniel who loves to seek things out.
    Thanks,
    Amy

  22. Hi Melissa, all very interesting! I have been quietly fishing & foraging most of my life in Sussex but have never looked for or accidental found a truffle. Please would you put me on your mailing list for this years courses? Thanks, Steve ( Lewes, E.Sussex)

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