Tuesday, January 20, 2009
More Precious Than Chocolate Truffles!
Sunday, quiet, dark, drizzly. Well, almost. It wasn't quiet. The Truffle Festival was held in Uzès and of course, we had to go. The Place aux Herbes was crowded with the grays and blacks of winter, however, there were those warming spots of color wandering from activity to activity. As we entered the Place a warm fire was blazing under this an enormous pan balanced on a front loader. Hmmmm. The lines grew around it and 300 eggs were poured in along with 2 kilos of truffles. Scrambled egg, one of the best ways to taste truffles.
At the market the sellers were all scurrying to sell their black, bumpy gems. Some had been found by pigs, others by dogs trained to sniff out the treasure. As you can see by the price, you are very careful to pick the perfect truffle---smell it, feel it, and be sure the hunter had not left on extra soil to increase the weight of the truffle, therefore, the cost to you. ( Note the price on all the truffles was 70 Euros for 100 grams, therefore, about 700 Euros for a kilo or 350 dollars for a pound!)
In one tent an auction was taking place. Note the truffle on the right. It was over 2 kilos or4 1/2 pounds. I did not think I should bid on it so left to see what else was happening at the market.
If one places truffles in with uncracked eggs, the eggs will absorb the fragrance from the truffle. You can scramble the eggs and have the flavor of the truffle, while using the thin slices in another dish. The price for ten eggs plus some small truffles? 20 Euros.
Most restaurants have truffle luncheons. (The one pictured is outside with the floor covered with straw and yellow mimosa at every table.) We had lunch at a new restaurant of a friends who will be serving hamburgers. (The restaurant will not open until March, but was trying out a portion of its menu.) Would you believe that the don't French understand that you pick up a hamburger with your hands and eat it! We showed them how.
This afternoon we are going to an inauguration party! Along with some of Amy's friends inviting us to watch, our French neighbors, Michel and Cristelle
invited us to join them. How exciting!
(To see any of the pictures in a larger format, just click on the picture.)