Truffle hunting in Provence
Explore the Vaucluse hills in search of truffles in the company of a truffle grower and his dog and discover the secrets of this exceptional mushroom.
During your stay at Château La Roque, a charming bed and breakfast in Provence, you will be able to explore the sunny hills of the Ventoux Regional Natural Park. In the footsteps of a “truffle hunter” and his dog, discover these fragrant jewels hidden beneath the soil.
Château La Roque, in the heart of the Monts du Vaucluse and the truffle producing area.
In the heart of the Monts du Vaucluse in the Ventoux Regional Nature Park, Château La Roque is ideally located in the largest truffle production area in France (75% of the truffles produced in France).
Put on good walking shoes and head out with a truffle grower in search of this luxury mushroom that knows so well how to hide in the groves around the castle
Hunting for truffles….but which one? Black truffle or white truffle?
There are dozens of varieties of truffles, but only a small number are edible and gastronomic. In Provence the three most tasty and sought-after varieties are the tuber melanosporum, the famous black diamond of Provence harvested in winter like the tuber brumale. In summer we find the tuber aestivum also called summer truffle or Saint Jean truffle. These are the three varieties we use for thegourmet dinners at the chateau.
In the markets, you have to know to recognize the truffles! Sniff it and even ask the seller to nick it with a penknife! The truffle must be firm. The tuber melanosporum has an incomparable scent of nuts and earth. Its flesh is black with fine white veins. The summer truffle has a small hazelnut scent. Its flesh is light grey with fine white veins. As for the brumale it has a rather strong musky perfume and a black flesh with rather large white veins. Avoid the “false” truffles, Chinese, especially if you are offered a price defying all competition. The Chinese truffle resembles the tuber melanosporum but it has no scent and its black flesh has white veins that are not very pronounced. You can ask your seller to specify on a document the variety you are buying and the origin. He or she thus guarantees the quality. Keep it for a maximum of 10 days at the bottom of the refrigerator, in a small glass jar with a tissue. But it’s better to enjoy it as soon as possible!
Truffle hunting in the hills of Provence
Imagine yourself in the groves on the hills of Provence all set to go “truffle digging” and determined to have a good harvest. You follow on the heels of the dog, very excited by his quest, quickly starts sniffing around as he zigzags under the trees and in the bushes to finally stop dead in his tracks. With his nose up, the dog shows his master where to dig with his pickaxe to unearth the coveted treasure, well hidden at a depth of 25 cm. He also awaits his well-deserved reward.
While you are following the dog, the truffle grower shares with you the secrets of truffle growing. He teaches you how to spot “witch’s rings” in the undergrowth. These circular bands of earth are located near the trees and their roots. They are also called “burnt”. They are often covered with moss. Herbs and plants do not grow much because truffles absorb most of the nutrients. The truffle grower will explain that despite many attempts and research, it is not yet possible to control the growth of this exceptional fungus.
Your guide will not fail to tell you which trees are best for each type of truffle, how to train the truffle dog and also how to use boars, great lovers of truffles, to find truffles. He will regale you with the history of the Mont Ventoux truffle and on the practices of his ” elders “.
Once the satchel is full and the dog is happy, it will be time to return to the farm for a truffle tasting and the sharing of some good recipes.
Gastronomy, how to savour truffles?
The best recipe is the simplest! Raw slice of truffle on buttered toast, or with a drizzle of olive oil and fleur de sel… At Château La Roque we accompany these toasts with a glass of champagne …a delight!
The tuber melanosporum is the most popular and tastiest truffle. The best known recipe is the scramble eggs with truffles. The day before put the eggs you are going to use in a container with a truffle. The next day, scramble the eggs and add slices of truffle. Serve immediately. At the castle for gourmet dinners with truffles, our customers particularly enjoy the carpaccio of scallops with truffles, the tournedo rossini with foie gras and truffles, the risotto with porcini mushrooms and truffles. As for dessert, try the chocolate cake with truffles or the truffle crème brulée.
The white truffle with its slight hazelnut flavour should not be cooked. Use it in salads, on pasta, with fresh fish carpaccio or even in ice cream.
You can freeze the black truffle, but not the white one. It is much better to eat it fresh