The truffle is a flavor and a smell
First a smell. When she is ripe, it perfumes markets and kitchens. Some enthusiasts can even remain with their noses glued to it, like a divine addiction. The truffle is a charmer. Then she is a flavor that takes your taste buds to ecstasy, Do not be scarred by words. It doesn't take much to be happy and flavor an omelet, a brie, a small pot of butter, a cabbage or an aperitif. The little is its strength; the creamy makes its perfume, the time (a few days) makes its depth. So forget the price per kilo, think 100 grams and that's already a lot, think moments of culinary exaltation and it's huge. Imagine rare moments, which rhyme with rare product and the whole thing will create memories of a rare poetry.
The truffle is a know-how and a product of the land
The truffle tree, pubescent or green oak, is noticeable by the presence of a bare ground area around the trunk. This zone comes from the aggressive action of the mycelium.
The truffle is born in the ground around May-June, then develops during the summer months thanks to storm rains (especially in August). She begins to mature with the premiers cold autumn and harvested at maturity during the winter months.
Le limestone soil of the causses of Lalbenque and Limogne-en-Quercy lends itself very well to it.
How is the harvest going?
Cavage consists of extracting the truffle from the ground, when it is ripe, in winter, usinga dog ora trained pig. Unlike the dog, the pig is very fond of truffles. His master must ensure that he does not eat this precious mushroom. Failing that, you can also search for truffles usinga blue fly, specific. We follow it with our gaze and, in mild weather, when we see it land at the foot of an oak tree, the truffle is spotted and you can start digging. Truth or legend?
You still have to try, but the elders say they know how to do it.
Finally, do it with your own sense of smell, nose to the ground. It can work… but be careful not to be with a truffle owner. We have very short humor on the subject here….
Truffle, what is it?
This is the underground formation of a mycelium (mushroom) in association with the roots of a truffle tree. In our region, the noble species known and marketed with the mark
"Lalbenque black truffle" is known and referenced worldwide in gastronomy under the name of Tuber Mélanosporum.
An ideal environment
The truffle grows in limestone soils on the causses of Lalbenque and Lot, shallow (from 10 to 30 cm), rather aerated, draining and with a pH close to 8.
The truffle and its markets
Summer truffle -tuber aestivum- or winter truffle -tuber melanosporum-, there are different markets to discover the truffle in its element.
Winter truffle markets
From December to March, two of the most important truffle markets in France are held, 20 minutes south of Cahors et Saint-Cirq Lapopie : at Lalbenque, Tuesday afternoon (from 15 p.m.) and at Limogne-en-Quercy Friday morning (from 10:30 a.m., but being there before is more prudent).
You will be able to come and discover this unique atmosphere, treat yourself with your eyes or treat yourself by buying a beautiful black winter truffle. They come in all sizes, the smallest cost around ten euros and you already have something to please you for 2 to 4 people (in an omelette or in shavings on your dishes).
The retail market always precedes the wholesale market in Lalbenque and everyone can find the quantity that suits them. A noble and luxurious product, it can reach
€1/kg retail, depending on the period or the quantity harvested. Just like saffron, this rare spice which is also harvested in the Lot.
The best restaurants in the region also come here to supply themselves with "tuber melanosporum", also nicknamed "black diamond".
Summer truffle markets
There is also a summer truffle, "tuber aestivum", more affordable, less exceptional, but very tasty as an aperitif in truffled butter. It's a good introduction to the discovery of this rare product, if you don't know it yet and are curious. A summer truffle market is also held at Limogne-en-Quercy on Sunday morning, from mid-June to mid-August, from 10am.
In both markets, animations are planned to know everything without having to ask.
Discover the truffle
If the truffle is a mystery, we have keys, clues, codes to share with you.
It is to an initiatory journey that we invite you directly in the truffle fields of truffle growers, it is up to you. You will observe, understand, imagine and the truffle will no longer hold any secrets for you. You will meet the truffle closer to its environment. The melanosporum ou the summer will reveal themselves to seduce you. Marie-France, Noushka, Jean-Paul and Tithys, Christine, all passionate, will share with you their knowledge, their stories, their anecdotes, will take you into the world of truffles with ease and clarity. Dog, female dog, will gladly put on a show, but you will not be their center of interest: only the truffle, the black diamond and the reward count for their experienced and gourmet "truffles". And the final question will be: which of you or these experts in digging will have the most passion for truffles at the end of these meetings…. Your bets!
Taste the truffle
With truffles, to flavor your dishes, you have to be generous, but not expensive.
She likes everything creamy, sometimes a little greasy, lounging in it for a few hours or a few days, to leave all her flavor in it as a divine memory. These are some basic tips, but you can imagine that such a refined product also deserves recipes, which are just as refined.
That's good, the leaders of the Destination Cahors – Vallée du Lot are as passionate as their truffle grower friends. So they multiply the truffle menus all winter. In this case, all you have to do is put your feet under the table and enjoy.
But the chefs also offer you truffle cooking class : they share their recipes with you, put you in the kitchen so that you can then enjoy the pleasure of tasting your own dishes.
And as the truffle is always declined with generosity, we also share with you some of our "homemade" recipes.
Animations around the truffle
The truffle festival in Lalbenque at the end of January
As every year, the famous village known for its superb winter truffle market organizes the truffle festival on the last weekend of January.
On the program: national digging competition with truffle dogs, culinary and discovery workshop, conferences, tastings, gourmet village, craftsmen and creators
The giant truffle omelet
This great event organized by the Site Remarquable du Goût of the Lalbenque truffle market takes place every year on the last Tuesday of July from 19:30 p.m. The entertainment will start at 17 p.m.
They offer stays around the truffle
The hosts below offer stays around the truffle, ideal for discovering the black diamond in total immersion...
Do not hesitate to contact them to discover their offer and to make sure of their availability.