This noblest and most characteristic underground mushroom grows in symbiosis with oak trees. Tuber Melanosporum black truffle is above all a sigh of pleasure and satisfaction – a sigh that says, “Finally, the Greatest Joy is here!”. Though Provence is not the only place they are found, more than 80% of France’s truffle production comes from the Enclave des Papes in the north of Provence.
Searching truffles provides lots of fun! You will walk in the foot steps of the truffle hunter and the dog to see how he works in a total symbiosis with his owner. On Saturday morning, you will stroll across Richerenches village to experience the largest truffle market in France (from mid-November to mid-March). The market attracts nearly 400 producers and more than 2000 passionate visitors about the famous “black diamond”. A part of the village is devoted to the professional market, closely watched by the police … for the simple reason that transactions are done “on the back of the truck” and only in cash. At more than 1200 € per kilogram depending on the season, offer and demand, the transactions reach considerable amounts. On the other side of the village, along main street, producers display truffle, fruits and vegetables producers and regional products. After a certain time walking through the village, you will enjoy a truffle aperitif at L’Escapade restaurant and bar, an institution in the village!
Saturday late in the afternoon, comes the time of the hands-on cooking class. You will join Corinne in her kitchen to partake in a 4-course truffle cooking class. You will enjoy a food and wine pairing tasting gourmet dinner afterwards.
In addition to the truffle adventure, you will take the advantage of the winter season to visit an olive oil mill. Olives are always harvested after the fall when the fruits are ripe, immediately brought by the farmers to the mill to be pressed. You will see the oil process and enjoy the different kind of first cold pressed oils depending on the olive varieties and terroir.
Provence is one of France’s largest wine region. You will get the opportunity of your journey to visit one of the top-ranked Côtes-du-Rhône winery in Gigondas Grand Cru village. You will visit the cellar and enjoy a tasting.
You also visit Grignan and its chateau built on a rocky headland overlooking the village. Originally built in the 11th century by Adhemar de Monteil (one of the principal figures of the First Crusade and bishop of Puy-en-Velay from before 1087), the chateau was transformed during the Renaissance period into a prestigious “leisure residence”. It pays tribute today to Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, Marchioness of Sévigné and to her daughter Françoise-Marguerite who married François Adhémar, Count of Grignan. Dismantled at the Revolution, the chateau was rebuilt at the beginning of the 20th century in a pure Renaissance style.