Jarnac truffle market alert

December 8th, 2008

The truffles I wrote about last year are but petits pois by comparison, as I heard an alert about tomorrow’s truffle market in Jarnac: a truffle weighing 1 kilogram 600 grams (about 3 1/2 pounds) will be auctioned on Tuesday! This is a milestone in truffle history, found last Saturday in Mérignac in the Charente (not a truffle perfumed with jet exhaust from the Mérignac airport at Bordeaux). This tuber melanosporum, or truffe noire du Périgord is reported to be the size of a volleyball. Regretting that I won’t be in the crowd to mark this truffle moment, a follow-up will appear after a visit early in 2009. And I wonder, who will bid and out-bid to own this truffe extraordinaire?

Well known in the Cognac region of western France for this seasonal market, Jarnac’s Marché aux truffes draws crowds every Tuesday morning from early December to late February. The market opens at 9:30, but it is advised to arrive earlier to be on the scene at Jarnac’s Hôtel Renard, Quai de l’Orangerie.

Mega truffle after-market report: 400Euros/$518 (at rate of $1.29) was the price tag on this truffe noire, weighing in at 1.02 kilos (with some shrinkage due to natural dehydration since it was dug on Saturday). It is now in the hands of a Lyon Charcutier, who will “perfume” many a terrine de foie gras during the upcoming festivities. Other weekly truffle markets across southern France, from Sorges in Périgord to Aups in the Var, have begun to open their doors. Security is tight in all these markets to screen out faux truffe from China, which look like the real thing – but lack the true truffle’s richly distinctive aroma and taste.

For more about Jarnac, visit:  www.jarnac-tourisme.fr

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