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Each year on November 27, an annual market is held in Carpentras. The visit is well worth the effort, even if the weather is cold at this time of year. The meaning behind the cold weather an indication that that the truffles are ready for harvest. The Vaucluse is France’s main truffle producing region – Two thirds of domestic production hails from this area. On the plains of Carpentras , which provide very good growing productions for this “black Gold”. The first truffle market of the year used to be held  on Saint Siffrein’s day and for the last few years , however , the Carpentras truffle season has got underway a week earlier. Truffle markets are held at nine o’clock  every Friday morning right up until the end of March. Unlike the market in Richerenches, during the half hour before the market opens its doors, smaller truffle producers have the opportunity to sell their modest pickings to private buyers.

On the first day of the 1999 Carpentras market, 682 pounds of truffles were sold!. The amount is equivalent of an entire harvest for a rainy year. No matter how wonderful it is in an omelet or wrapped in a pastry, the best way to savor is to eat on a piece of rustic bread , sprinkled with sea salt , truffles can be bought more cheaply as a preserve. During the preserving process the truffle is cleaned and sterilized for 3 hours, the truffle loses 25 percent of its original weight. The juice can be saved for cooking purposes. Comtat has , for the past few years, held the record for producing the largest truffles, weighing as much as 14- 30 ounces . Comtat is home to numerous restaurants, famed for their truffles dishes.

Truffles in history.

They were described as a ” miracle of nature” , the Romans ate them like candies during performances at the theater. The popes at Avignon gave them pride of place at their banquets. Francis I ate them as comfort food as he was prisoner of Charles V , the duchess of Berry, who was plagued by scandal, is said to have fed her husband truffles, she was convinced of their aphrodisiac properties. During the 18th century, fashionable society would eat them during the interval at the opera and by the 19th century, elegant meal was considered incomplete without them.

Join us in the Fall 2015 when we will go foraging and hunting for mushrooms in Luberon, Provence.