Lavenham: Bull Terrier Nellie has a nose for truffles

IT’S a scene straight out of Provence - autumn sunshine, rolling countryside and valuable truffles that fetch �1 a gram on the open market.

But Janey Auchincloss is not in the south of France, nor is she snuffling for truffles with a pig.

For the last six years the B&B owner and her faithful English bull terrier Nellie have been digging up “black gold” in the Suffolk countryside around her Lavenham home.

The 48-year-old, who along with her husband John Perkins, 53, sells Nellie’s finds to some of the county’s top restaurants and said they were amazed when they first unearthed the subterranean fungi.

“We bought the property in 2006 when it was derelict. Nellie used to go pottering off round the land nearby and was always scrabbling around.

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“Then one day we noticed this strange smell where she had been digging and saw this thing and realised it was a truffle.

“We just thought you don’t get them in England. But we found more and more of them.”

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She added: “Nellie finds them and we hold her back. We don’t like her eating them because they are so rich. She usually drops them for one of her gravy bones anyway.”

The garden designer, who intends to send a sliver of truffle to Kew Gardens for identification, said they noticed the valuable fungi were more prevalent under Birch trees and evergreen oaks.

Keen forager Janey, said they have found so many truffles she started selling them at Lavenham Farmers’ Market where she usually has a bulb stall.

She added: “I think the people from London loved it. They thought we were selling truffles at really cut down prices. We sell now to The Angel and to The Great House.”

The couple, who run the Stone Farm B&B from their house on Brent Eleigh Road, are also thinking about incorporating truffles into their service.

Janey said: “We had a friend who suggested we could grate truffle over the scrambled eggs in the morning, so I’ll have to have a word with John – he’s in charge in the kitchen.”

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