The summer months in Provence are abundant with rows upon rows of fragrant flowers, from lavenders to sunflowers, and more. On the other hand, November through to March is the ultimate time of year for truffle lovers. The region is the centre of black truffle culture in France. Further, almost all truffles consumed across the country come from the surrounding Parc du Cap area. These local luxuries, with their unique flavour, are harvested throughout the winter months. As a result, the region offers various fragrant markets, truffle tours and hunts. So, let us explore more about truffle season in Provence and how you can enjoy the delicacies from your Parc du Cap home.
The heart of truffle country
Following the truffle routes will take you on a scenic tour, high through the mighty Alpes-Maritimes and spectacular hilly regions. To clarify, our most local spots to find these culinary diamonds are Grasse, Vence, Puget-Théniers and the middle Tinée valley. And, the season officially kicks-off mid-November in the truffle capital of France, Richerenches. This small village, otherwise remaining fairly tranquil, comes to life at this time. That is to say, a traditional parade of the Fraternity of the Black Diamond marches through the village of Richerenches. This is a wonderful spectacle to witness – locals dress-up in medieval costumes, playing music, dancing, and singing in provençal. All in honour of the local black diamond.
Roam the markets
The region’s truffle markets are where you’ll find all varieties of the black treasure – also incorporated into various local delicacies. Richeranches is particularly renowned for hosting the crème de la crème of all truffle markets. In fact, this is known to be Europe’s largest and most luxurious location to source truffles. Expect to find stalls piled high with black diamonds and their special scents floating through the narrow, cobbled streets. Gourmet treats include, truffle butters, condiments, oils, truffle cheeses, and so much more. Moreover, spots to visit are plentiful – markets take place every day of the week throughout the region. For instance, in Aups, Carpentras, Puyméras and Valréas. In addition, closer to Parc du Cap, you might like to explore Grasse’s January truffle market. Or, Grimaud’s Truffle and You Market which takes place in February.
The truffle experience in its true glory
Aside from the markets, many local farmers offer traditional truffle hunts, tastings, and foodie truffle experiences. This is a great opportunity to get out into the great outdoors and spend some time in nature. Most importantly, an experience suitable for all the family. Local truffle hunters (rabassiers) harvest truffles with the aid of truffle dogs. These wonderfully intelligent dogs are trained to detect the strong smell of mature truffles – hidden beneath the surface of the ground. Following these dogs will lead you directly to the treasure! As they sniff, indicate, and dig to unearth the black diamonds. Once discovered and collected, enjoy these delicious delicacies with a selection of local wines back at your Parc du Cap residence.
Indulge in a truffle soirée
As a seasonal delight, a special occasion must be made to enjoy a tasting evening of the region’s flagship products. And, it’s not surprising that many of our local and finest restaurants incorporate the ingredient into their recipes. Moreover, making it the star of their winter menus. So here are a handful of our recommended restaurants to spend unique flavoursome and memorable evening with family and friends:
- Chez Serge in Carpentras
- Chez Bruno in Lorgues
- La Bastide Saint-Antoine in Grasse
- Le Clos Saint-Pierre in Le Rouret
- Michelangelos in Antibes
- Terres de Truffes in Nice
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