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  • Writer's pictureChef Poul

Truffles in Provence

You can't visit Provence in winter without visiting a truffle market. One of the best places to find the famous black truffle, or black diamond as it is called, is Aups a small town high up near the Gorge de Verdon at the foothills of the Alps.

The truffle market takes place on Thursday morning so get there early. Ignore the truffles from elsewhere as the best are those from Aups itself. Yes the price is high given the impact of global warming and the scarcity so bring cash and expect to pay around €130 per 100g! Some restaurant owners combine together to purchase in bulk to reduce the price.

How to choose? With permission, ask if you can pick up the truffle and smell it. The truffle should be firm and have been partially cleaned so the aroma will be strong and powerful. Look for disfigurement and try to choose one without defects or deformities. Your truffle should be well rounded and firm to the touch.

In the old days you could barter over the price but those days have gone as have the number of truffle farmers selling direct from their car booth. Now the price per kilo is clearly displayed and you will be charged per weight.

Once you have your truffle at home, remove from the plastic container and wrap it up in a clean tea towel and place in the fridge. You will need a special truffle shaver to slice it: You can find these at the market for €20 or at the Truffle Museum (which is also worth a visit in its own right).

It will keep in the fridge for around three weeks. If you wish to keep it much longer, simply place it in a jar of cognac and refrigerate. It will last at least a year and what a great cognac you will have to flavour your dishes long after your truffle has gone!

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