One early winter morning, we headed out of the lovely city of Cuenca for a day in the remote countryside. We drove for over two hours along winding country roads to have lunch with truffle hunters in a small hamlet in the interior of Spain. I wanted to find out how Spanish truffle hunters live and what they eat.
Casa Chon is located in one of the most remote areas of Europe with the lowest population density. Here, it’s not unusual to drive for miles without seeing anyone at all.
THE NATIONAL PARKS OF SPAIN
However, the nature here is simply majestic. All around us were beautiful lakes, mountains and forests. The soil is red earth and the waters are a deep hue of blue. Part of the way was completely covered in snow, and this was pretty too.
Fortunately, the temperature heated up slightly from below zero to two degrees by the time we reached our destination. There was no snow in the hamlet and it was surrounded by autumn colors.
HOW TO BUILD A HOME BY HAND
“The truffle hunter and his wife built their home entirely by hand,” my friend Jorge explained about Casa Chon, as we walked around the property, looking at everything. He added: “In fact, they didn’t use a forklift or any kind of building equipment for this.”
I looked at the truffle hunter who stood there in his jogging outfit, smiling proudly about his handmade home. He said: “I lifted everything myself. I did not even use a forklift.”
Then I looked at the structure they had built, wondering how they had done everything by hand. It was two stories tall, and it consisted of several apartments. They used one apartment for themselves and rented out the others to vacationers wishing to enjoy simple country life at Casa Chon.
A TRUFFLE LUNCH AT CASA CHON
The wife prepared lunch for us. It was a six-course meal with truffles used in various ways. Everything was simple but delicious. The table decor too was colourful — perfect for an Instagram photo.
Jorge said to me: “It’s very hard to get things here. The nearest supermarket is around 38 kilometres away. So they must learn to make do with what they have.”
Fortunately, the truffle hunters had no shortage of truffles. So we had simple food, but every dish had a mound of truffles on it. The wife placed a heap of sliced truffles into a bowl of olive oil.
Then she also placed on the table homemade truffle butter and truffle mayonnaise. For the round of next courses, she made deviled eggs topped with truffles. She also made the most delicious pumpkin soup flavoured with truffles.
I so enjoyed this day out in the countryside of Spain, hunting for truffles and meeting real locals. And, of course, living a Travelife.