Thanks for making the move to our new blog address with us. Remember to click “Subscribe RSS” in the right column so you know when we post something new. As we transition over, we will be posting a few oldies but goodies from previous years. Here is one I particularly thought you would enjoy since we are entering the fall season:
The Coming of Autumn
With the first chilly mornings of autumn just around the corner, France’s truffle industry is looking forward to the beginning of its season. I guess you could hardly call the art of truffle hunting and the way this “noble” mushroom is bought and sold an industry. The centuries-old tradition of local farmers training their sows to sniff out the delicacy still thrives, as does the image throughout market towns of southwest and southeast France once December rolls around of the wily old “truffier” carrying a burlap sack full of his season’s harvest of “black diamonds”. At prices upwards of 600 euros a kilo, no wonder we only see small specks of the divine mushroom during a couple of fancy meals out and probably wouldn’t even take note if we happened to spot a clump of round, dark brownish and rough-skinned fungus near the oak tree on the forested path. Like with many of France’s prestige gastronomic produce, output is down, prices are soaring, with each region boasting the merits of its indigenous strain, and harvesters and negociants in unison reminding consumers to beware of cheap imitations coming from abroad.
So, if you ever got your hands on just a few grams of this culinary delight, how you may ask could you best appreciate its savors? Should it be eaten raw or cooked? While truffle purists will insist on making the experience as close to the natural state as possible, by spreading a thin slice on toast, much like you would with foie gras, it’s more common to appreciate that special fragrance with an egg or pasta backdrop (“omelette aux truffes” and “ravioles aux truffes” are standard favorites).
Intrigued? To help curious visitors better understand this legendary mainstay in French gastronomy, next time you’re in Paris think of stopping in at the Maison de la Truffe (www.maison-de-la-truffe.fr/) near the place de la Madeleine (why not combine the visit with the tantalizing Maison Fauchon nearby). Closer to the source, there’s the Ecomusée de la Truffe in the Périgord region (in the village of Sorges). Should you happen to be around the Provençal town of Carpentras on market day (Friday) during wintertime, truffle stalls are abuzz as this spot has gained notoriety as the heart and soul of the Provence truffle trade.
Like to share any experiences you’ve had with truffles, in the forests, at the market or in your kitchen…
This is a post written by Robert Sachs. He lived in Bourgogne (Burgundy) where they know something about good wine and cuisine!
Note: Cycling during “truffle season” may be difficult, but hardy souls on foot can be accommodated – let us know if you’d like to go Truffle hunting with a local “hunter” this fall/winter!