The Truffle Festival, 24th edition, perfumed the market of Aups, the capital of the Black Diamond of Provence, and the tables of the restaurants in the village where it reigned on the plates.
The Truffle Festival in Aups celebrates every year the Black Truffle – the Rabasse in Provençal – an exceptional mushroom that, if savored since ancient times, still saves all its mystery and its enchanting aura in cuisine. With its inimitable flavor and its sensual and enchanting fragrance, the Tuber Melanosporum is very much appreciated by the gourmets and invites itself to the table during holiday celebrations and gastronomic meals. Some dig it, some seli it and the lucky gastronomes delight in it.
An enticing program
On the program of the 24th Truffle Festival on January 22nd 2017: a day loaded in authenticity and colors of the terroir with the truffles and local products market, demonstration of truffle digging, visit of the House of the Truffle. As for gastronomy, all the restaurants in the village proposed a truffle menu. We selected the restaurant La Truffe of chef Sabastian Gaillard.
The Black Diamond of Provence
Named for its price and because it grows hidden under our feet, in our nurturing earth, the “perfumed diamond” is harvested in winter at the foot of noble trees, oaks and hazelnuts. Its black flesh, delicately mottled with white veins, is covered with a black granular peel. Through the landscapes its cultivation provides in the gorgeous countryside of Provence Verte and the varied and succulent gastronomy it inspires to the chefs, this rare and mysterious dark beauty, is a magnificent theme for winter tourism.
An increasingly cultivated mushroom
If the natural truffle fileds are threatened by the drought that progresses in the summer, the Var terroir offers ideal areas for the cultivation of the truffle, which requires calcareous soil, an average altitude, a generally warm and dry climate with spring rains – irrigation can replace rains in August. In gastronomy, the rabasse – to be consumed fresh – enchants all the dishes with its incomparable flavor: fish, meats, vegetables, pasta, fruits and desserts… See how gourmets and gourmands are crazy about it and venerate it!
Aups, Capital of the Truffle
Aups, in the Var, is the capital of the Black Diamond in Provence. The Truffle Festival, every fourth Sunday in January, attracts a large number of gourmets and curious on the Place Frédéric Mistral in this charming village in the Verdon Regional Nature Park, where the market for local truffles and products is held. The Maison de la Truffe, which is the pride of the village, offers a subterranean dive in the fragrant and tasty universe of the jewel of the Varois subsoil which only surrender to the truffle of dogs and the snouts of pigs, and allows to discover all its secrets.
The Truffle Festival also features demonstrations of truffle digging with pigs, a competition of truffle dogs, and the famous blessing of truffle dogs on the forecourt of the Church of Saint Pancrace, for the dogs’ truffles to unearth a lot of truffles.
A truffle market, the third largest in France, is held in Aups every Thursday morning from the last Thursday of November to the last of February. (It is in January or February that the truffles are the best). This year, the rain had pushed the merchants to take refuge in the communal hall. The rabassiers, recognizable by their black chasubles and hats and their red scarf around the neck, present the truffles nestled in wicker baskets. The value of the truffle is set by the brokers, according the quality and the importance of the truffles offered for sale. A good truffle is that which is heavy, with a strong smelling, which is very black with white veins. A blow of knife can make it possible to check the flesh of the truffle. The truffle is to be consumed fresh, sliced or grated, and ennobles all the dishes, even the simplest, ravishing the papillae with its carnal perfume.
New members welcomed in the Confrérie de la Truffe
At a solemn ceremony of enthronement, in the presence of Antoine Faure, Mayor of Aups and Bernard Ugo, creator of the Truffle Festival, two personalities from the agricultural world were welcomed in the Confrérie de la Truffe du Mont Ventoux et du Comtat Venaissin, whose members were taking part to the hymn to the truffle in Aups. Very moved, Madeleine Goin, a farmer, beekeeper with 200 hives, and creator of a famous recipe of an incomparable black nougat, as well as Francis Gillet, President of the Trufficulteurs Varois, medalist of the Mérite Agricole, a generous man who works hard defending the trufficulteurs in the country of Aups, were dubbed.
The House of the Truffle of Aups and the Verdon
The Maison de la Truffe aims to highlight regional identity and heritage and present the truffle in all its dimensions. Four ludic areas, with complementary atmospheres, welcome the visitors: a “taste of the truffle” area, where one discovers the truffle by the 5 senses; a Truffo-touristic area, with information on activities around the truffle; The adventure of the truffle, a museographic part presentating the truffle and truffle cultivation; finally, the visit can be concluded at the shop selling products around the Black Truffle.
See also our report on the restaurant La Truffe by chef Sabastian Gaillard.
Upcoming Truffle Festival in the Var:
Les Arcs sur Argens: second Saturday of February – Maisons des Vins
Lorgues: second Sundday of February – Château de Berne
Vidauban: last Saturday of February – Bastide des Magnans
House of the Truffle – Maison de la Truffe
Aups Tourist Office
Tel: +33 (0)4 94 84 00 69
Open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 9h to 12h and from 14h to 17h
On Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9h to 12h
Tarifs: adults 5 €; From 12 to 18 years 3 €. Free for children under 12
The Truffle Festival in Aups in images
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