TRUFFLE MARKETS:December 2016 - January - February 2017

truffle-market

Most truffle markets are about more than just the market and stalls. There are often gastronomic workshops, truffle identification (recognising different truffles by smell and observation under microscope…),demonstrations of ‘cavage’ using truffle snuffling dogs, truffle based food in local restaurants and of course truffles and local produce market
Music, food and an interesting day out.

Sunday 11th December
Journée de la Truffe et de la Gastronomie
Villefranche de Conflent

Sunday 18th December
Marché aux Truffes
Collioure

Saturday 22nd December
Marché aux Truffes
Perpignan (place de la République)

Saturday 24th December
Marché aux Truffes
Céret

Sunday 15th January
Marché aux Truffes
Montner

Saturday 21st January
Marché aux Truffes
Thuir

Saturday 29th January
Fête de la Truffe Noire Régionale
Arles sur Tech

Sunday 5th February
Marché aux Truffes
Château de las Fonts, Calce

Sunday 19th February
Marché aux Truffes
Castelnou

All about Truffles

by Jean Robertson

Black gold which fetches 800 to 900 euros a kilo. We have all read about this but what exactly is a truffle?

Truffles or ’Tuber Melanosporum’ are fungi that grow underground from small organisms that grow on the roots of certain trees, in particular green and white oaks. Sometimes they are found on other species among which are the hazel, the hornbeam and the limetree.

In order for the truffle to develop the right combination of soil, climate and host tree must be present and even then it is not guaranteed. The soil must be chalky, the climate Mediterranean and the tree of the right species.

The complete growth cycle of the truffle takes place underground. In the spring, as the first rays of sunshine begin to heat up the ground the spores that are found in the decomposed truffles of the previous season begin to develop into the fungi which attach themselves to the root system of the host tree. This encourages ’le brule’, a bare zone around the affected roots which is possible due to some sort of chemical reaction which discourages the growth of any vegetation in the area.

In the late spring and summer the first little truffles start to grow, aided by the spring rains and summer storms. They are harvested, in great secrecy, during the late autumn and winter. Once the specially trained dog has indicated the presence of truffles the ’trufficulteur’ will investigate the site with the help of a trowel or spoon. This is done with great care so as not to damage the roots or disturb any immature truffles. The hole is then carefully refilled.

Dog_smelling_for_truffles

The truffle is a seasonal product best eaten fresh. The ideal conservation method is to brush them carefully to remove any mud and then store them whole in a plastic container, either wrapped in absorbent paper or on a bed of rice. They are best kept in a fridge for no more than ten days.

The truffle is well protected by law with heavy fines and the possibility of prison sentences being awarded as punishment for poaching. At all reputable truffle fairs the goods on sale will be inspected by an expert to ensure that they are the genuine article.

An economical way to enjoy the flavour is in scrambled eggs. The required number of eggs are stored overnight in a plastic container together with a whole truffle. After about twelve hours make your scrambled eggs in the usual way. The scent and flavour of the truffle will have impermeated through the eggshells. You can add a few truffle shavings before serving. Don’t be toooo heavy handed as it is a very delicate flavour.

Bon Appetit

 

 

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