A Bite Of Black Gold

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I guess they got asked so many times for the recipe that the nice ladies from the Uzès Office of Tourism  just wrote it on the tablecloth:

3 kg truffles
3000 eggs
20 litres oil
30 litres cream

And that’s all they wrote.  But that’s not the whole story, of course, because to pull it off you need a town square full of truffle lovers, truffle tasters, truffle buyers

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and truffle vendors.  Thanks to favorable weather conditions, truffles are relatively cheap this year, going today for 70 Euros for 100 grams, which works out to 700 Euros a kilo, or about $425 a pound.  Considering that last year they were selling for about 1000 Euros a kilo, that’s practically a bargain basement price.  Since the weather has been trufflish, we invested in a few, and later this week we’ll make some sort of truffle extravaganza dinner.  But for today, we let others do the cooking.

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You need a big crew of strong guys to scramble 3000 eggs,

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plus a fork lift to get the hot pan off the fire before the eggs get vulcanized,

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lots of serving dishes to feed the hungry masses,

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and a stalwart dish crew for the sad moment when it’s all over but the fire.  

But truffles aren’t brought by the stork, and to further our education we were also treated to a demonstration of truffle hunting.  These truffles are cultivated, of course, in a wildcrafted sort of way, but they still need to be found and dug up.

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Dogs in the audience were invited to come front and center and dig for truffles, although most of them sniffed happily without ever finding anything.

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A few dogs were more diligent and approached the ring in a workmanlike manner

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with an eye to taking care of business.

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After the dogs had their day, they brought in the big gun.  This rather enormous pig showed us who was the boss truffle turner-upper, as she went quickly and decisively from one buried treasure to another

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getting a treat from her person for every truffle she found, and never stealing the tiniest one for herself.  You can see her in action right here on YouTube, courtesy of Eric.  She was such a cutie pie, don’t you dare even think about pork roast with truffles!

After watching the dig, we weren’t ready to renounce truffle-snuffling, and went off in search of a truffle lunch for ourselves.

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All the restaurants in town had posted their truffle menus in the center of the square, and we chose Le Zanelli

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where, if “awesomest” were a word I’d use it to describe their truffle and arugula pizza,

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with the truffle tagliatelle in a cognac and cream sauce coming in a close second.  We left, licking our lips and stuffed to the gills

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and couldn’t help but notice that even the restaurant’s cat, who had been much in evidence under the tables, looked like truffle festival day might be the best day of the year.

And now we’ve got three truffles waiting in the kitchen, so if you have a favorite recipe to share, please do!

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6 Comments on “A Bite Of Black Gold”

  1. Eric Says:

    Here’s a video of the chefs stirring the eggs…

  2. Shaya Says:

    Oh my gosh, that is the best looking pizza and loveliest pasta I’ve seen in a long time. I love the image of all the big burly men stirring the eggs. There is definitely a skill to that. It reminds me of the teaching my kids to make scramble eggs, reminding them not to stop stirring…do they ever manage to botch a batch? Thanks for sharing.

  3. Rebecca Says:

    Those noodles look delicious- now I AM actually wishing to make something that I can’t- a delicious freshly cut eggy noodle in a cream and truffle sauce. Eat a lot of good food for me, every day!

  4. Jessica Says:

    Wow, I wish that there were something like that here in Oregon! I wonder if there is any truffle hunting near Uzès. I was lucky enough this past November to find four or five of what I believed to be Oregon White Truffles. It was almost like my dream come true! I have a passion for mushroom hunting and I never thought that I would ever find any truffles. But now I know a little more about what they look like partly buried in the ground and where to find them. Sadly, I took too much time contemplating whether or not to try the truffles before they went bad.

    Those truffles look so delicious! Have you ever been mushroom hunting?

  5. Abra Bennett Says:

    Jessica – I’ve only been mushroom hunting once, and that was in Russia, in a forest north of Moscow. It was an amazing day, even though I personally didn’t find one single mushroom. I ate the ones other people had found, and although they weren’t especially delicious, they were very interesting.

    When you find mushrooms in France you can bring them to the pharamacy to have them checked out, they’ll tell you if they’re good to eat. Too bad you had to toss your maybe-truffles!

  6. Kentaro Mori Says:

    The television program is produced in Japan.
    Can I use the animation of the demonstration to look for truffe with the pig?


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