In the fourth century BC, truffles were an anomaly. No one was quite sure why or how they existed, or that they would soon become a prized delicacy of Europe. So, what is a truffle? A truffle is a type of mushroom found living in the roots of trees such as chestnut oak, beech and hazel trees.
Egyptians were known for adoring truffles, smothering them in goose fat; Greeks and Romans believe they had health properties for both the body and soul and now, these fancy fungi are used by foodies worldwide because of their exotic flavour and aroma.
The famous truffle flavour can be found in many products such as truffle butter, truffle oil, and of course, truffles can be bought fresh too.
Here is our truffle tasting guide to make sure you get the best out of this ancient delicacy!
Where Do Truffles Come From?
The word truffle is derived from the Latin word used for “lump”. While this may not sound pleasant, some of the best things come in lumps!
Truffles vary in size and can either grow to the size of a walnut or can grow to the size of a large orange. They grow in the roots of a variety of trees, though oak appears to be the favourite.
The most common truffle is the black truffle, which can be found predominantly in autumn, though like most things, truffles have various species which grow throughout the year and varying seasons.
How Are Truffles Found?
Truffles in France were traditionally found by pigs. Female pigs are able to seek them out because of the truffles strong smell, likeliness to testosterone, which makes them prize truffle hunters. Pigs had to be placed on the side-line in favour of dogs, as the pigs were known to eat the truffles rather than bring them back (though we don’t blame them). Dogs tend to sniff them out, and the tracker is able to retrieve the truffle before it becomes the dog’s dinner. Why does the way dogs smell out truffles differ to why pigs smell out truffles? To dogs, they are able to smell the truffle as they omit strong odours when they are ready to be harvested.
To this day, truffles are still one of the most sought-after foods in the world and the process of harvesting them is still very thorough. Fresh truffles are even more prized, as when taken from the ground they immediately begin to dry.
South of France – The Best Place for Truffle Growing
It wasn’t until the 19th century that the link between the smell of the truffle and the time for harvesting became apparent. The relationship between tree roots and truffles also wasn’t realised until then, which means that the 19th century was the most blossoming time for truffles.
It was discovered that the South of France has the ideal soil and climate which allowed truffles to flourish. Now the South of France is the spot where truffles are mostly cultivated, and truffle hunting is very popular here.
Where Can You Eat Truffles in South of France?
By now, you must be thinking “where can I get my hands on this delicacy?!” Well, there are plenty of places for you to enjoy truffles.
Many restaurants in the South of France will serve something infused with truffle, but if you really want an ‘all hands-on deck’ experience, here are some of the places we recommend.
Chez Bruno, Lorgues, is a restaurant famous for including truffles in all of their dishes, which means you are sure to try this famous fungus and see what the fuss is all about. Provence also offers a lot of options when it comes to truffles, and Avignon boasts a truffle festival for those who truly want to get involved, on Sunday 9th Febuary, 2020.
Here at Quality Villas, we want you to have an outstanding holiday, which is why our hand-picked luxury holiday villas, South of France, are the perfect place to choose for your special home away from home.
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