Truffles in Provence
The truffle season runs from November to mid-March in Provence, and 70-80% of France’s black truffles emanate from the markets of the Vaucluse department of Provence.
The epicentre is the Friday morning truffle market in Carpentras, where black truffles trade hands for several hundred euros per kilo. Truffles are weighed with old-style scales, and payment is strictly cash.
In the Luberon you can buy truffles in Menerbes at the Maison de la Truffe et du Vin (House of truffles and wine), a beautiful 17th century building with a colourful history and a commanding view of the Luberon. During the season you can buy them fresh, out of season there are truffle products for sale. The shop offers express delivery.
Truffles are priced by the gram and will cost anything upwards of 800 euros per kilo depending on where you buy. A decent truffle will weigh 30-60g.
The Provencal truffle is confusingly called the Truffe du Périgord, and also the Diamant Noir. The latin name is Tuber melanosporum and these warty lumps are black with white marbling inside.
Luberon truffle hunters and their talented dogs will sniff these out in the Parc du Luberon from December to March. Truffles are found in warm limestone terrains and on sunny slopes, and not just under oaks, but hazel, chestnut and beech among others.
If you fancy having a go at finding your own truffles, you don't need a pig or a dog to find them for you. Just look for the small truffle flies that mark the spot under an oak tree where a truffle may lie. But don't do it on someone else's land - people are very possessive of their truffles and won't take kindly to sharing.
Truffle omelette recipe
Morning markets from November to mid-March:
Christmas truffle market in Menerbes, last Sunday of December