Truffles - ouT of This world_ wh by fjzhxb


									Every day we bring you something exceptional. 

Truffles - ouT of This world!
We are wild about them! Proponents of French Provencal cuisine give them pride of place on their menus. Known as the “black diamond” or “rabasse”, the truffle is rare and commands a high price. It can only complement a relatively small number of foods, due to its intense flavour. The last word in French gastronomy, this mysterious mushroom hides under its earthy exterior a subtle and bewitching aroma said to arouse passion. Focus on a luxury product held in high regard in gourmet circles.

Not to be missed
Those hoping to buy truffles in bulk come to these markets, to negotiate for “black diamonds”: Carpentras market takes place every Friday from mid-November to mid-March. As prices are often established here, it serves as a reference for other markets. Richerenches in l’Enclave de Valréas is renowned as the “quality truffle capital” and a “superior taste location”. Markets are held here every Saturday from January to March and every Wednesday morning in Valréas. Every year in the Verdon, a large mass is held in the lively atmosphere of the Café de France in Riez. Every Wednesday morning from November to March, the café becomes the preserve of truffle-growers and buyers negotiating deals. At Aups in the Var, a market runs every Thursday morning during the same period. The large gastronomic and truffle market at Rognes is also worthy of a mention. This year the festival of the tuber melanosporum falls on 18 December, where both truffle-growers and producers of “made in Provence” and seasonal specialities can be found selling their wares. Here you can try everything the region has to offer: warm goat’s cheese, truffle omelettes, chestnuts, tapenade, foie gras… a real feast for the taste buds.

Other markets
From mid-November to midMarch: Chamaret (Mondays), Grignan (Tuesdays), St-PaulTrois-Châteaux (Mondays), Nyons (Thursdays), Taulignan (Saturdays), Montségur (Thursdays). Ménerbes (the last Sunday in December), market for the general public.

The Truffle a Provencal celebriTy

where To buy Truffles
At markets and exhibitions
Markets devoted to truffles are unlike any other. With no hustle and bustle, nor attempts at window-dressing, discretion is the order of the day, with rates often being established in advance. Between mid-November and midMarch makeshift markets see truffle hunters negotiating with buyers, with transactions being completed from car boots or in cafés. A kilo can be purchased for between roughly 100 and 700 Euros. The price shoots up just before holidays, fuelled in part by an increase in demand, but also since the best truffles are to be found from January onwards, when they reach perfect maturity. On market days, truffle-growers arrive early with their produce, but the busiest period is from 10am. By about one o’clock in the afternoon the market is winding down, but a bewitching scent lingers in the air long after sellers have packed up and left…

on The web
Truffles can be purchased online. Vacuum-packed truffles can be delivered within 24 hours for consumption within a week. H Truffle boutiques Black truffles and truffle products. Secure payment and express delivery H Truffle plants For simple on-line purchasing. INRA (French National Institute for Agricultural Research) approved production H Bargains Compare truffle prices and benefit from internet pricing Contact truffle-growers and truffle product manufacturers for lists/contacts CDT 4/83/84 4/83/84

The South East produces the most truffles of all French regions, accounting for 80% of national production, contradicting the widely held assumption that the South West is the major cultivation area. The black truffle is particularly well suited to the earth of the Vaucluse, recognised today as the main producing area in France. But the best-known markets are found at Richerenches (named a “superior taste location”) and Carpentras, frequented by buyers, manufacturers and restaurant chefs alike. In the Vaucluse, the truffle mostly nestles on the slopes of Mount Ventoux, and in Luberon, Haute Provence, truffles are found on the Valensole plateau and in Forcalquier country. They can also be unearthed in the Haut Var. Truffle season “officially” starts at the beginning of November.

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© M.Verdeil

© M.Verdeil

Every day we bring you something exceptional. 

Truffle-hunTing exPlained
The truffle lives underground and will never see the light of day without a woody companion– holm oak or white oak trees in Provence –which it feeds on in order to grow. A truffle is a buried treasure that is difficult to find. Harvesters and truffle gatherers have to resort to the sharpened senses of dogs, or even pigs (becoming rarer nowadays), specifically trained to detect the famous “black diamond”. The truffle hound paws at the ground to indicate the truffle zone. With the help of a special hook known as a “fouji”, his master will then unveil the dog’s haul. You can discover the whole process of truffle-hunting with local truffle-growers.

a Professional sPeaks
Jean-Luc Benard, a passionate truffle grower
Arriving in Provence in July 1980, he has never left. Was it the love of this area or the discovery of a buried treasure “the black diamond” on his property that has rooted him to Provence? “We knew there were a few truffles on our land. A neighbour came with her dog to sniff them out and that’s how it all began. In 1982, we started to plant types of tree that encourage the growth of truffles. I decided to produce my own plants first for my family, then for friends. Since 1988, we have made a living from this activity. We produce between 15,000 to 20,000 plants per year.” Inspired by his own story, this truffle grower now shares his experience of the land by staging activities within the framework of the “Itinéraires Paysans” (visits and walks organised by groups of local farmers).

Ochre and trufflethemed stay in Villars
From December to March In the heart of the Luberon Natural Park, discover the former ochre quarries and Apt market on a Saturday morning, with truffle-hunting in the afternoon. In the evening, enjoy a trufflebased meal in a restaurant in Villars. Duration: 3 days/2 nights. Price for 2 people: ¤169. Price includes accommodation and truffle-hunting demonstration. Allow ¤39 per person for trufflebased dinner. Tel: 06 14 84 25 42

Truffle-hunTing demonsTraTions

Weekend in Monieux
From December to March Discover an ancestral activity in the enchanting surroundings of Mount Ventoux: the search for truffles with dog handlers. You will go “treasure” hunting with your agricultural host, share an evening dinner of truffles and listen to the legends of the “black diamond”. Price for 2 people: ¤170. Duration: 2 days, one night in a double room with breakfast included, a trufflebased dinner, truffle-hunting session. Tel: 04 90 64 04 83

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In the Alps of Haute Provence Redortiers, using the «Itinéraires Paysans»
Mr Bernard, a truffle grower, will share his passion with you during a short truffle-hunting demonstration. These take place all year round, on a Tuesday morning for individuals (latest reservation time is the day before the visit) and every day by appointment for groups of at least 12 people. On the agenda: welcome to the property, its history and the history of truffle gathering, visit to the truffle fields, information on the truffle, the land and gathering techniques, hothouse visit, explanation of plant production (mycorhisation), demonstration of truffle-hunting on the plantation. Relax over truffles and a wine from the region.

Richerenches – Saint Alban area. Mr Allègre offers truffle-hunting demonstrations everyday from November to March. You can choose from several options: an hour, a half-day or a day. To give you a flavour, here is an example of a day’s activities: Saturday morning, visit the market at Richerenches, afternoon, trufflehunting demonstration on the truffle field, wine tasting on the premises. Discover truffle-based products, truffle vinegar and pork truffle pâté. Individuals and groups catered for by reservation. Contact: Mr Allègre in SaintAlban. Tel: 04 90 28 01 66

Weekend in Visan
From January to March Martine and Pierre invite you to share their passion on a restored former farm. On the agenda are a visit to Richerenches market, truffle-hunting and a trufflebased meal. Duration: 3 days/2 nights in a double room, with breakfast included, from Friday evening to Sunday. 3 trufflebased meals with wine included, truffle-hunting and a visit to the truffle museum. Price for 2 people: ¤490. Tel: 04 90 41 95 90

aT a glance
Truffle-growers also give demonstrations at the following truffle-based events: H Carpentras, 5 February truffle exhibition. H Saint-Laurent du Verdon, 26 February - visits to the truffle fields and truffle-hunting. H Riez, 11 December – walk: “Discover the truffle fields, truffle-hunting, talk…”. H Oraison, 4 and 5 February – truffle festival.

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© M.Lozano

In the Vaucluse Richerenches – Saint Alban area

© M.Lozano

Every day we bring you something exceptional. 

The Truffle according To…
It’s our chefs who speak most eloquently about the truffle and never tire of singing its praises. For some of them, it has long been an integral part of their cuisine, as in olden times. Now that food appreciation and the pleasures of dining out are once again coming to the fore, a whole new generation of chefs are revisiting the truffle and exploiting its powerful aroma in increasingly original ways. Here are a few unusual recipes from our chefs to whet your appetite.
one of the prettiest villages in Provence, south of Luberon. She grew up in the Vosges, but fell in love with Provence and its cuisine. The mother of her husband-to-be introduced her to Provencal cuisine. She gave up her studies in medicine to work in the kitchens. She earned her first star in 1995, and set up her restaurant, La Fenière, in a beautiful and welcoming auberge at the entrance to the village. Let them rest a few minutes on  a dish.  Deglaze the pan with  a few spoons of the water used  to cook the artichokes.  On  each plate, arrange a veal chop  accompanied by the truffleinfused spring vegetables.

chez bruno, lorgues

chrisTian éTienne à avignon

A master chef of France, member of the Culinary Academy of France and a winner of the 3rd Prize of the International Taittinger contest, Christian Etienne has “worked” produce from the soil of Provence since his early days as a chef. He is known as the “Pope of the Truffle”, a neat allusion to Avignon, the “Cité des papes” where he has set up his restaurant “Chez Etienne”, nestling at the foot of the Palace. In his book “The Magic of the Truffle”, published by Edisud, he unveils the mysteries of the truffle through his own recipes.

a white roux: melt the butter,  sprinkle in the flour and briefly  stir the mixture.  In order that the  roux stays white, be careful not  to let the flour cook for too long  or get too hot.  Allow the roux  to cool (this prevents the sauce  getting lumpy) before adding the  stock.  Whisk, and put back on  the heat for half an hour.  Next,  check its consistency and either  add more stock or reduce the  sauce if necessary.  Aim for a  light creamy sauce.  Don’t add  any salt! Season only with pepper  and nutmeg.  Next, loosen up  the sauce by adding the juice  you kept from the oysters, heat  and add the lemon juice.  The  truffles must be carefully drained  (so that they lose their second lot  of juice) before being placed with  the oysters at the bottom of each  soup dish.  Pour the hot soup over  the oysters, which will just seal  the oysters without cooking them  too much, and will flavour them  with the powerful truffle aroma. 

Veal chops, vegetable ragout
Preparation time: 30 minutes. Cooking time: less than an hour. Level of difficulty: average Ingredients: 4 veal chops, 16 baby onions, 12 green asparagus, 8 topped carrots, 100g shelled broad beans (also remove their second skin), 100g high quality garden peas, 4 small violet artichokes, 200ml olive oil, 80g truffles, 1.5 litres veal stock, 1 dessert spoon of flour, juice of 1 lemon, 50g butter, salt and pepper. Brush the truffles.  Peel all the  vegetables.  Cook the artichokes  in 1 litre of water, adding the  flour and lemon so that they do  not discolour.  Cut them into 4. Steam the asparagus.  Leave  the heads whole and cut  the lengths into slices. Melt the butter in a casserole, add  100ml of olive oil and heat the  onions.  Once they are golden,  add the carrots and the peas and  mix in the veal stock.  Leave it to  cook for a few minutes, then add  the broad beans, the artichokes  and finally the asparagus.  Season  and grate in the truffles.  Cook  for 20 minutes, then add the  remainder of the olive oil. Meanwhile, fry the veal chops in  the butter and oil until they are  golden on one side (about 6 or  7 minutes depending on the size  of the chops), turn them over,  and let them cook for the same  amount of time on the other side.  
© M.Torrès

Truffle expert Bruno Clément runs the famous “Chez Bruno” restaurant in Lorgues. He set it up twenty years ago in the house that belonged to his grandmother, at “Campagne Mariette”, a magical place where the truffle reigns supreme. Trained under Alain Ducasse, he worked for Lenôtre, proponents of simple and spontaneous cuisine.

© M.Torrès

Dark chocolate truffle heart cake
Takes: 40 minutes.  Difficulty  rating: average. Ingredients: For the cake: 140g  dark chocolate (64% cocoa), 5  eggs, 65g sugar, 25g flour, 60g  butter, salt.  For the truffle cream:  100g liquid crème fraîche, 2 eggs,  20g sugar, 1 dessert spoon grated  truffle.  For the truffle caramel:  100g sugar, 2 tsp grated truffle. For 4 people:     For the truffle cream: put a salad  bowl in the fridge for 10 minutes. Gently heat the crème  fraîche. Pour in the sugar  and mix together. Away from the heat, stir  together the egg yolks and  grated truffle.  Pour the cream 

reine sammuT lourmarin Reine Sammut lives in Lourmarin,

Oyster truffle soup
Ingredients for 6 people: 18 oysters, good Bouzigues oysters or clear green ones, 80g butter, 100g flour, 1 litre full-flavoured chicken stock, 120g truffles, juice of half a lemon, salt and pepper Open the oysters and strain them,  retaining their juices.  Separately,  make up a velouté sauce: prepare 

© M.Torrès

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Every day we bring you something exceptional. 

into the cooled salad bowl. For the cake: Preheat the oven  to thermostat 6/7 (200°C). Break the chocolate into squares  and melt in a bain-marie.   Remove from heat, and add  30g of the butter in knobs.    Mix until you have a smooth,  shiny consistency. In a salad bowl, whip the egg  yolks with the sugar, until the  mixture goes white.  Mix in the  flour, then the melted chocolate. Whip the egg whites until they  start to peak and add a pinch  of salt.  Gently stir them into  the chocolate mixture. Butter 6 individual cake tins.  Half  fill them with the mixture.  Pour  into the centre a small amount  of truffle cream and cover with  the rest of the mixture.  Cook  in the oven for ten minutes. For the caramel. Boil the sugar with 5cl of  water, until it goes golden  brown.  Still stirring all the  time, add a little more water,  followed by the grated truffle. Remove the cakes from their tins  and place them on plates.  Pour  the liquid caramel around the  cake and serve.  Take care not  to let the egg whites collapse  when you are mixing them  into the chocolate mixture.

edouard loubeT, lourmarin Edoaurd Loubet, the youngest Michelin-starred chef in France, carries out his art in Lormarin. Using produce from the local region, his classic brand of cuisine has an imaginative edge due to its accompaniments and sauces. His refined dishes are light: with very little cream and no butter, his art is firmly based around the subtle combining of flavours.

a truffle in the centre of each of  the squares and fold into a purse.   Seal the pastry and remove any  surplus pastry.  Brush with egg  yolk.  Decorate with the strips of  puff pastry cut earlier and brush  again with egg yolk.  Place them  on a baking tray and cook in the  oven at 250°C for 6 to 8 minutes  until they are nicely golden.   Prepare the maize vinaigrette:  mix the maize with the white  vinegar, truffle oil, olive oil, salt  and a pinch of sugar.  Sieve to  obtain a smooth texture.  Pour the  sauce into a serving dish.  Place  the truffle parcels in the middle. Using a mandoline, grate a few  thin strands of truffle.  Decorate  the dish with the strands and  some rocket or dandelion  leaves.  Drizzle over a few  drops of truffle oil and serve. 

the event. Naturally places are extremely limited, so it is advisable to reserve well in advance.

© M.Torrès

also on The agenda
Truffle-growers’ Festival in Montagnac, 15 January.
Truffle and agriculture day in Puimoisson, 22 January.

Tasting day in Richerenches
The 3rd Sunday of October, during National Taste Week: truffle omelette tasting…

Truffle and wine festival in Carpentras
5 February 2006 “The” truffle event. Find out all (or nearly all) there is to know about truffle-hunting. The festival celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2006, this year with even more attractions: a truffle and plant market, truffle-hunting demonstrations, a cooking competition open to individuals, a photography contest, truffle-based recipes, tasting sessions with chefs…

Truffle parcels
Cost: ¤35 per person. Preparation: 30 minutes. Cooking time: 8 minutes. Ingredients for 2 people: 3 25g truffles, 250g foie gras, 250g puff pastry, 125g maize, 4cl truffle oil, 4cl olive oil, 4cl white vinegar, 4cl truffle juice, a pinch of sugar, a pinch of salt, 4cl cream, 4cl port, 2cl cognac, 1 egg yolk, some flat-leaf parsley Heat 50g of foie gras  in a frying pan. Mix the rest of the foie gras  with the cream, port, cognac,  salt, a pinch of sugar and a  good pinch of chopped parsley.   Add the warm foie gras and  mix again.  Brush the truffles  and briefly wash them.  Using  a spatula, completely cover 2  truffles with the foie gras cream. Put them in the fridge for 3  minutes so that the foie gras  hardens.  Roll out the pastry into  a fine layer, cut off a few strips  and put to one side.  Then cut  two squares out of the pastry.  Put 

Mass in Richerenches: a celebration in honour of the truffle
15 January The “black diamond” has earned itself a cult following. Every year, the truffle is celebrated in Richerenches under the leadership of the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Black Diamond. A mass in old Provencal is held at 10.30am in the village church, and pays homage to Saint Anthony, patron saint of truffle-growers. The most enthusiastic devotees arrive at 8am in the morning to try to guarantee their place in the church. Those who arrive later can watch the celebration on a giant screen set up in the Templars’ commandery. The celebration’s originality lies in the gift of truffles during the offertory procession – the truffles are then auctioned off after the mass. In 2005, 4kg of truffles were harvested and auctioned at a price of ¤4,965. A huge meal consisting exclusively of truffles rounds off

Truffle festival in Oraison
4 and 5 February Truffle-hunting demonstrations with truffle hounds, traditional “brouillade” (omelettes, soufflés etc) contest, various events. Tel: 04 92 77 99 00

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Every day we bring you something exceptional. 

learn how To cook Truffles
During the season in the months of January and February, you can learn how to cook the “black diamond”. Truffle-growers and some restaurants offer courses devoted to the truffle, which are becoming increasingly popular and the sessions book up quickly. If you want to get your apron on, it is advisable to book well in advance.
Truffle-themed stay at the foot of Mount Ventoux
From mid-December to January. The Domaine de la Condamine offers accommodation in an 18th Century building. A getaway here can include a stroll around the truffle market at Carpentras and a hunt for the precious mushroom. Your hostess, armed with the secrets of truffle-based cuisine, offers culinary courses. Price for 2 people: ¤190. Duration: 3 days/2 nights. From Thursday evening until Saturday morning in a double room with breakfast included. For information, tel: 04 90 62 47 28 www.lacondamine.infos

Discover the “black diamond” in Cotignac
A long gastronomic weekend in Cotignac. Arrive late afternoon on a Friday, welcome and introduction of the guests, dinner at the “table d’hôtes” (truffle-based meal, of course!). Saturday, after breakfast, get to know the different varieties of truffle, visit a truffle field, choose a spot for lunch. In the evening, gastronomic trufflethemed dinner! Sunday, after brunch, depart at about three in the afternoon: “We’re sure you’ll want to come back…” For prices and dates, please contact your host direct. Stays during the truffle season, from January to March, minimum of 6 people. Tel: 04 94 77 70 93

“Université Méditerranéenne du Goût” in Hyères
Let yourself be guided through the region’s produce, where the truffle features heavily, in fact, from the starter through to dessert! Enjoy preparing a themed meal and then tasting it. Courses are lead by chefs in a special teaching kitchen. Study trips, weekends, conferences and group sessions can be organised on request. Tel: 04 94 00 55 55

Hunting for the “black diamond” in Cabrières d’Avignon
17 and 19 February/24 and 26 February. Spend the weekend on a truffle hunt. Includes: visit to a wild truffle field, truffle-hunting, helping to prepare the exclusively truffle-based dinner, tasting session. Duration: 2 or 3 days/2 nights in a double room, full board, cooking lesson and trufflehunting. Price for 2 people: ¤790. Tel: 04 90 76 77 55

Auberge de la Fontaine in Venasque
Jacky and Marie-Jeanne Leroy are both passionate about truffles and enjoy sharing their knowledge. They offer themed cuisine courses on request followed by a tasting session. After a stay here, or even just one session, the truffle will no longer be a mysterious secret. Price: ¤80 per person for one lesson. Possibility of accommodation. Tel: 04 90 66 02 96

Discovery workshops at the “Maison de la truffe et du vin” in Luberon
The black truffle is the star attraction. The workshop divides into three parts: a visit to the truffle fields, trufflehunting demonstration, a trip to the farm, and back to the “Maison de la truffe” to try a truffle “brouillade” accompanied by a selection of wines from the Luberon Natural Park. Dates: Thursdays 22 and 29 December 2005, 14 January, 4 February, 18 March 2006: ¤65 per person. Reservation essential.

The “Route de la Truffe” in the Var:
The truffle is very much at home in the Haut-Var. It is not surprising, then, that here you can follow the “Route de la Truffe” (the truffle road). As well as letting you in on the secrets of the “black diamond”, the road also takes in beautiful landscapes and villages. Journey along the road at your own pace, any time between November and February.
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