Every January in Uzès, the Syndicat des Producteurs de Truffes du Gard, organize a weekend dedicated to those precious black diamonds we call truffles. The weekend begins Saturday with an evening gala and grand feast of 100% truffles. The menu is prepared by several Michelin starred chefs, Jérôme Nutile, Restaurant Le Castellas in Collias and Olivier Douet, Restaurant Le Lisita in Nîmes.
Sunday is La journée de la truffe, a day you can't miss! Starting early in the morning, truffle farmers set up tables displaying their dirt encrusted truffles they have found the days before. Inspection lamps, scales and bundles of cash spread across the tables gives the air of an illegal activity and adds excitement. The market is open to the public and the people arrive in masses ready to purchase. The price per kilo this year was set at 1000€ which makes calculating your purchase easy. For example a truffle that weighs 30 grams would cost 30€. There are plenty of other truffle products to be purchased as well, including truffle butter, truffle goat cheese, truffle brandade or even a hot, truffle omelette, but it's best to wait for the giant truffle omelette prepared by the Syndicat des Producteurs de Truffes du Gard at noon. Just before noon, is the truffle auction. Several truffle farmers donate a truffle, which are blessed at the Messe de la Truffe held at La Cathédrale d'Uzès Sunday morning. Every year the money from the auction goes to the La Cathédrale, but this year for the first time, the priest announced the money would be donated to Haiti. With five truffles, they raised 1250€.
Five things to know about truffles:
1. Truffles with a thin layer of dirt around them conserve better. The down side is that you are paying a bit extra for the weight of the dirt.
2. You need approximately 10 grams of truffle per person to make an omelette or risotto.
3. Perfectly round truffles are most likely found in sand and may contain more water than a knobby shaped truffle found in rocks.
4. You can preserve an unwashed truffle in the refrigerator for about a week in an air tight container.
5. You do not have to peel a truffle. When you are ready to use your truffle, lightly brush it, run it under water and let it dry. Thinly slice or grate before adding to a dish.