A day in winter
The truffle seemed to me like a mythical product. It is only found in delicatessens, a luxury product par excellence. Then, in a TV report, I learn that markets are organized in the middle of winter and in the open air around this product, which intrigues me all the same. Go hop, I decide one Tuesday of February, without really precise project, to leave to meet him. And it was an amazing, rewarding day.
A truffle day then!
The winter sun was there and it certainly added to the magic of the moment. Here I am in Lalbenque on a Tuesday morning in February. I had to be guided, introduced to the rituals and so I had booked a Truffle Day at the Tourist Office: in the morning, explanations about this magic mushroom. Then, tasting of truffled butter sandwiches. It was essential, because by dint of talking about it, we want to taste it. And it was delicious. Quickly at the table for the rest.
After a famous, generous and reasonably priced truffle omelet, back to the market. We dive into another era, another universe. Certainly, the retail market will allow me to buy a small truffle adapted to my means and my needs. But it is the wholesale market that offers an astonishing spectacle. The bell rings. Buyers and sellers watch each other out of the corner of their eyes, talk in low tones, but given their number, they make for quite a hubbub, quite jovial, especially with that southwestern accent bouncing all along the benches, who carry the baskets. We can see that it gauges, studies, sniffs, negotiates and the baskets go as they go. Some buyers - merchants or restaurateurs, I have been told, or rather good gourmands, in my opinion - will have their baskets weighed, to be sure of their business. It's not very very long, depending on the market, I was told. In any case, it really desacralized the truffle and its market in my eyes. But the day is not over. We join our guide, who takes us to a “digging” session in a truffle field. But what is it, then ?????
There, an amazing new discovery awaits us, Jean-Jacques and Pupuce are ready to show us how to find truffles. No electronic devices, just the pig's nose, in fact. It seems that he loves truffles and therefore he finds them 10/20 cm deep. The problem, moreover, is that he loves her so much, that Jean-Jacques has to be vigilant: 1 minute of distraction and Pupuce gobbles up what she unearths. This is truffle cavage. Some use truffle dogs, which are more easily satisfied with a reward for a truffle. It's more serene.
Anyway, it was a really fun time, all of us following Pupuce and Jean-Jacques. I've never walked around with a pig on a leash… If you don't have a pig or a dog, it seems you have to follow a special fly, which lays its eggs in the nose. Yeah, I ask to see. But that does not stand the flies.