What happens when you ask 11 paramedics to suggest a social connection and wellbeing activity? The answer is – you end up scratching around in dirt, for an obscure fungus worth hundreds of dollars (otherwise known as a truffle mushroom!)
So what then is the vital ingredient for having fun in a truffle hunt, I hear you ask? The answer, apparently, is competing to find the biggest truffle!
“If you make things a competition, it is surprising is how little prompting is required to convince a group of adults to follow a dog around and play in the dirt,” Fortem’s Shannon Heathcote says.
“Everyone had such a blast trying to outdo each other in the search for the biggest truffle, it was very funny to watch.”
Which brings us to another novelty involved in the truffle hunt – the deployment of a special ‘truffle hound’, which shows an admirable and laser-like focus on snuffling for underground treasures of the mushroom variety.
“The truffle hounds are pretty amazing to watch, I think we all got a kick out of that element of it too,” Shannon says.
Another highlight of the day was the quantity of banter being thrown around between the groups, which was both hilarious and plentiful in equal measure.
And after the ‘hunting’ came arguably the best part – the tasting, where participants also had a chance to learn some great recipes from the host.
Shannon says the group enjoyed the fruit of their labours, “The host has this amazing way of truffling eggs – she puts them in a jar with water for a couple of days and the flavour sort of seeps in.”
“When it comes to using the truffles, the guys hosting it really know their stuff.”
So, are there any downsides to doing a truffle hunt? Well be warned – you may develop a taste for very expensive mushrooms, and it’s likely your brekky eggs will never taste the same again, however, that seems like a small price to pay for a very unique and memorable experience.
To get involved in upcoming Fortem events check our Wellbeing Activities Calendar, you’ll also find mental health resources for first responders and their families in the Fortem Resource Library and via Peak Fortem. Fortem Australia also offers psychology support for eligible first responders and family members. Call 1300 33 95 94 to find out more.