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Posts tagged ‘perigord’

Christmas in July: Black Winter Truffles

A truffle is an irregular, round-shaped fruiting body of fungi, which grows underground in a symbiotic and mysterious relationship with the roots of trees. On average, truffles vary in size from a walnut to a golf ball, but there are sometimes exceptional truffles that can weigh a pound or more.

Tuber melanosporum, the black winter truffle

Tuber melanosporum, the black winter truffle

Tuber melanosporum is often called the black “Perigord” truffle, after the legendary truffles of that region of France. But black truffles are also found during the winter months in several parts of the Northern Hemisphere, including Italy and Spain. The black winter truffle drives people wild—it has dark, robustly-veined flesh that appears almost black-purple, and has the strongest flavor and aroma of all the black truffles.

Seasonality, the difficulty of locating the truffles, and erratic weather conditions all impact the cost of truffles, making them one of the most costly ingredients in kitchens around the world.

Remarkably, even miraculously, the black winter truffle has finally been cultivated in the Southern Hemisphere. With acidic soil, cool winters and warm summers, Australia offers conditions ideal for growing truffles, at least in the identified microclimate in Western Australia where we have found a  successful truffière.

This is the holy grail of truffles.

The truffières were amply planted with oak and hazelnut trees whose roots were inoculated with truffle spores. The years of patience have been rewarded; they are now harvesting black truffles in their winter season, which is June through August. These trees are producing a steady supply of quality black winter truffles, which are located in the traditional manner, with truffle-sniffing dogs.

We are pleased to say that the Australian truffles are just as impressive as their European counterparts. It’s like Christmas in July for truffle fans, who can celebrate the extension of the season.  One way of doing that is to make Tournedos Rossini.


Tournedos Rossini with Australian Black Winter Truffles


Take a Food Lover’s Dream Trip

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”   So said Albert Camus.   If you’re whiling away the long dark days of winter imagining how to spend the next gorious summer, we have an inspiring idea for you.

The Majestic Dordogne

Toulouse geese on a foie gras farm in picturesque Dordogne.

This July, join Ariane Daguin for an enchanting week of culinary exploration in her favorite corner of France—the southwest.  The Dordogne, and specifically the Périgord Noir region, is famous for its prehistoric cave paintings, medieval castles and villages, but especially for its unique blend of cultural and culinary riches.

Les tomates at a local market.

This is an ideal spot to find out what joie de vivre is all about, and to taste it for yourself.  The Périgord Noir is revered in France for its regional cuisine including the finest truffles, walnuts, wild mushrooms and foie gras, and for wines like Bergerac, Monbazillac and Cahors.

La Combe Périgord

You will stay at La Combe en Périgord, an 18th-century stone farm house nestled on 40 acres of parkland and woods deep in the Périgord Noir.  This gracious home is well equipped with a swimming pool, private apartments and modern amenities, including a state-of-the-art French country-style kitchen, a fully-stocked bar, library and massive stone fireplace.  Your every comfort is simply and elegantly considered.  You will have all the privacy you want, and all the attention you need.

Kitchen at La Combe Périgord

Each evening aperitifs will be followed by beautiful dinners….days will be spent exploring produce markets, visiting farms, learning about the traditions of foie gras, watching bread being made from the grain mill to the oven, eating leisurely lunches at fine restaurants, and discovering the history and culture of the area.

perfectly crusty loaves

While absorbing the culinary traditions of the Périgord, you will also enjoy hands-on cooking instruction with guest teaching chef, Ariane, who brings unique skills and vast food knowledge to the kitchen.  Cooking the seasonal produce available in the markets and talking to farmers and food artisans is the best immersion in the local food culture.

Market vendor selling fresh chevre.

Spend a week in the Périgord Noir with Ariane and remember the flavors for a lifetime.

July 20-27, 2012

Cost is €3200 per person and is all inclusive.   La Combe en Périgord can only accommodate 8 people, so don’t hesitate and miss this extraordinary experience!

For information and reservations call 888-522-6623 or email

sunflowers soaking up the rays