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Paul Topping

Paul Topping

Face to face with that rare French truffle in Menerbes

My greatest truffle experience was in Menerbes in July 2017 with our special friends, the Aluwihare’s. At the museum and truffle / wine centre in Luberon in a building dating back to the 17th century the reoccurring topic is TRUFFLES. We sit overlooking a valley from this hill top restaurant.

I think every one of the food courses we ordered included truffles, either infused, or as a sauce, or sprinkled on, or like mushrooms served with steak. So if you have never had truffles, you should try them.

Truffles are a type of fungus that grows normally in the roots of trees and are harvested in France between November and March.

There are lots of stories, myths and old wifes tales told by the French about truffles. At one point, farmers used their pigs to dig out the truffles but this would often result in a frenzied pig eating all the fungus. Dogs are used by some truffle hunters as they dig and find the truffles but will not eat them.

We have an amazing meal at the restaurant, though my steak is one of the smallest I’ve had in France. But explaining this to the waiter is a non starter. Tissa in our group, tells the wine waiter that he enjoys Italian Barolo wine, and can the French match the taste? Somewhat of a fun insult to the French. We get offered a 4 hour truffle hunt at 180 euros a person but decline the kind offer. Do we look French?

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