It’s Truffle Time!

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Take 3000 eggs, 3 kilos of truffles, 10 litres of olive oil, and a big pail of cream.  That was the recipe of the day at the Truffle Fair in Uzès yesterday, and although it sounds rather plain, it made a delicious snack for 1500 or so people.  As you might imagine, this is cooking on a rather large scale, and requires the assistance of a fork lift and several burly chefs with long-handled wooden shovels.

Want to know how it’s done?  First you’ve got to get your truffles.  Yesterday they were expensive, but then, aren’t they always?

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Under the shadowy arcades of the town’s main plaza, the black diamond vendors spread their wares.  Only the melanosporum or Perigord truffles were for sale, 1000 Euros a kilo was the going rate, and the sellers kept a sharp eye as the tightly packed crowd sniffed the truffles in the dim and musky light.  I bought the three little treasures pictured up top and tucked them deep in my bag, safe from truffle-nabbers.

Meanwhile, out in the open, the cooking is about to get underway.

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While waiting for the fire to burn down to an egg-friendly temperature, the fork lift hoists the giant pan, ready to set it over the coals.

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The chefs strategize and steel themselves for their upcoming labors.

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The coals are judged to be perfect and the frying pan meets the fire.

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Ladies and gentlemen, we have eggs!   It takes just about one hour to scramble 3000 eggs, and the chefs really get a workout.

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Several times the forklift has to back the full pan off the fire to allow it to cool down, while the chefs scrape the bottom to keep the eggs from scorching.

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Finally the eggs form a very soft curd

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and the crowd gathers in close as the serving begins.  It’s 6 Euros a portion, so we share a plate.

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The eggs were incredibly soft and creamy, almost liquid, and very generously studded with truffles.  Once we’d tasted the truffles we had to have more.

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Since every restaurant was serving a truffle menu of some sort, and everyone in town was awaiting their turn to trufficate freely, we hung around under this bell tower until we were rewarded with this:

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a truffle, arugula, and crème fraîche pizza, one of the best pizzas of my life. 

So now I have three small truffles, and about 7 days to use them while they’re fresh.  One I diced up and kneaded into a roll of good butter.  That’s in the freezer and will happily melt onto food for some time to come.  The other two are in the fridge, one sealed into a container of rice, the other is snuggled up with a few eggs.  And now I’m contemplating what to do with them after they lend a bit of their flavor to the eggs and rice.  There’s that leftover foie gras in the freezer, perhaps they’d all like to dance together. Or perhaps I’ll make a paté, or a risotto with the perfumed rice, or an intoxicating sauce for something special.  Or should I just use them to make pizza?

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11 Comments on “It’s Truffle Time!”

  1. Michel Says:

    Oh my God! One of the best dishes I’ve ever had was macaroni and cheese and (granted, white) truffles. But I’m sure it would be just as good with black truffles… Though veal comes to mind too.

    Oooooh, I’m hungry.

  2. Sweeney Says:

    One nit: Are you sure they were Perigord truffles and not the local stuff Provencal stuff?

    I’m only being picky because I’m green with envy.

  3. Abra Says:

    Actually, I’m not sure of the provenance. The melanosporum truffles are often called Perigord truffles, but at the market, where there were about 20 vendors, some were from the Gard, some from Provence, and I’m not sure about the rest. I sniffed quite a few, (truffles that is, not vendors), and while there were differences, to my nose they were subtle ones.


  4. Runny eggs cooked outside for 1500 people? How I love the European perspective on food safety.

  5. K Says:

    I should enjoy the idea of scrambled eggs with truffles en masse, but the scrambled eggs in that giant pan look a little too much like sick to my hypervisual mind. But the picture of the tremendously delicious-looking pizza cleansed my mind’s palate, so thank you for that. 🙂

  6. Debra Lane Says:

    Foie Gras and Truffle posts in the same week. I hate you! I’m very envious but thrilled for the fabulous year you are having and thankful that you are sharing it with your photos. Should you choose to recreate any of the dishes you have experienced, you have a group of sous chefs at your disposal! Deb


  7. Really nice blog !
    It makes me hungry !
    The pictures seems so true !

    Arnaud and Amandine

  8. Pille Says:

    When I saw the post title, I was thinking like Debra. Is she now complaining that she’s got too many truffles to cook? 🙂 Great photo report, Abra!!

  9. Heinz Says:

    I recommend to use the remaining truffels for “Poularde de bresse truffée mère Brazier” if it’s not too late and you already used it for other dished.

  10. Jessica Says:

    I have a strong passion for mushrooms, and man I wish that I could have seen this!


  11. […] the 30th annual Truffle Festival in Uzès. It wasn’t perhaps as grand as in years past, when a huge scramble of 3000 eggs and 3 kilos of truffles was cooked over a fire and served to the eager participants. In fact that was really the best part […]


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