Now I can truly say: “There was a fungus among us.” I refer, of course, to Tuber melanosporum, the black (or winter) truffle, one of which was, until recently, at rest in our kitchen.
Yes, this past Sunday was the day — the start of the village’s weekly market for black (or Périgord) truffles, and of course we were there. (For a bit of background, see “Double your truffle,” posted on December 5, 2018).
Let’s do a quick tour, starting with the sign at the entrance to Daglan’s primary school courtyard, where the truffle market takes place:
In the courtyard were several groupings of people, either clustered in front of the vendors (as shown here) or chatting and enjoying free drinks and nibblies:
My wife Jan and I made our way up to the vendors’ table, and eyed this offering of Category 1 and Category 2 black truffles, held in little baskets:
And our choice? Well, I figured the Category 2 truffles would be good enough (indeed they were), so we picked one out and the vendor placed it on his scale. The price on the scale was shown as 26,40 euros, but the vendor said we could have it for 25 euros. (Did he know about possible publicity on Radio Free Daglan? Probably not. Just a nice guy.) Here it is:
Okay, it’s not a very exciting looking treat, but it’s definitely tasty. The proof is in the pudding of course, and so we decided that the “pudding” in this case would be pasta with truffle-infused cheese sauce, which we would have for lunch yesterday (Thursday).
Jan began by making the cheese sauce, using a combination of cheddar, a blue cheese, and some Parmigiano-Reggiano. Then she added most of our truffle, minced into tiny bits. Finally she saved a few slices to decorate the tops of our dishes. And here we go, with my bowl of truffled pasta:
The verdict? Absolutely delicious — creamy, salty, cheesy, and full of that hard-to-define truffle taste and aroma. I said to Jan: “I could eat this for the rest of the day,” but of course the dish was eventually finished.
Of course, we’ll be back at the truffle market on Sunday morning.