Amanda on November 2nd, 2010
Cenac In The Mist

Cenac Through The Mist

Mists drift past the dripping hills, shrouding the oaks and walnuts in their delicate, damp veils.  As they shift and part shafts of topaz light pierce the scene and a breathtaking world emerges.  The countryside is spiced with cinnamon and saffron, peppered with cayenne. Autumn has finally arrived in all her blazing glory.  I drive down through the valley passing gilded vineyards of breathtaking beauty, line upon line of flame haired maidens swaying to the rustle and rhythm of the leaves in a vast Celtic dance. Read More »

Autumn In The Quercy from French Life

Amanda on February 11th, 2010

Quercy Black Truffle
It’s a strange phenomenon, but as winter loosens its iron grip and the first spring bulbs begin to feel their way into the exhilarating air of a Quercy February, my mind takes a retrograde step.  I start to think of truffles.
I imagine it happens this way.  November is too early and often still warm. December is the usual frantic stuffed-bird, fat pudding, vast quantities of everything, festive season.  January is devoted to repairing the ravages of the festive season, lean, calm and frugal.  By February my usual buoyancy has returned and I’m ready for a little deep, dark, intensely indulgent deliciousness.  I don’t think I’m alone either, but whilst most do it with chocolates – around about Valentine’s Day – I do it with truffles.
It all started for me this year when I went to visit a couple of friends of mine – a pair of particularly wise old owls.  Their knowledge of botany is a constant source of delight, and I sat in their sunny conservatory sipping my Lapsang Souchong and entering gamely into a profound discussion on a reliable organic cure for Codling Moth.  We chatted about this and that, watched a tree creeper mousing its way up their giant oak and thrashed out the probable chances of success for my maiden apple trees. Read More »

February – The Month Of The Truffle from French Life

Amanda on February 1st, 2007
Iris

Iris

As I pick my way carefully down our little lane, avoiding rocky outcrops and sharp stones, I notice a few pale green shoots and swelling buds, hopeful harbingers of spring.
It is the middle of February and there are a mere two chilly weeks of winter left. It’s a waiting time, most of the work in the fields has been done, ancient, rusty ploughs have turned over great slabs of milk chocolate coloured earth, liberally scattered with white chocolate chips, the hallmark of the Quercy Blanc. In the vineyards all the vines are clipped and neat. In the ancient oak woods old and weak trees have been felled, yielding comforting piles of stacked logs, fuel for the winter after next. The crowded landscape has been swept bare by the freezing winds and in the little hamlets and villages there are few souls about. Read More »

Joys of French Life – Lunch! from French Life

Amanda on February 2nd, 2006
Quercy Truffles

Quercy Truffles

Welcome to the late winter treats of the glorious Quercy. Foremost among winter indulgences in this famously gastronomic region must naturally be the truffle. Now is the time for it, the prices are a little lower in the late season, 800 euros a kilo last week, but that’s quite reasonable! If you feel the desperate urge to indulge in this edible delight, Lalbenque is the place to be. Every Tuesday afternoon at 2.30, from November to early March, the village is closed for the truffle market. It will be freezing, so dress warmly, it will be chaos, so be prepared, but it will be an experience you’ll never forget and, provided your wallet is fat enough, you should come away with a rare little nugget to reward you for your endurance.
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Winter Treats in the Quercy from French Life

Amanda on February 2nd, 2006
Truffle Omelette

Truffle Omelette

Omelette Aux Truffes

This is a classic recipe, extremely simple and perfect for supper on the day you manage to buy – or find – your first fresh truffle. Truffles have a pungent aroma that permeates the eggs beautifully, even through the shells. Therefore if you plan to make an omelette, store your truffle with your eggs, even a few hours of this treatment will make a difference to the flavour of the finished dish. Make sure your eggs are fresh and treat them lightly, don’t beat them into submission, just a gentle whisk with a fork will do. Read More »

French Truffle Omelette Recipe from French Life