From the early antiquity man has known truffle (reknown for its aphrodisiac powers).

We can find traves of truffles in some 4000 years old terracotta tablets found in Mesopotamia. In France the truffle growth area is located between the 44th and the 46th North latitude degree and therefore includes the Comtat. In Carpentras the Friday truffle markets exist since “the most ancient times”. In 1155 a charter was granted by Raymond V, Earl of Toulouse, to recall that no other market should be created between the Ouvèze and the Sorgues rivers.

But it is in the XIXth century that the truffle truly expanded. First in 1840 when Joseph Talon and Auguste Rousseau, both from Carpentras, had the idea of cultivate truffles. They were quickly imitated because of the phylloxera epidemic which contaminated the wine producing regions : agricultors planted truffles-oaks in the destroyed vineyards. But the intensive production known at the beginning of the XXth century was stopped by World War One. Today the average production, on a normal year, represent from 30 to 40 tons. 80% of the production comes from the South East of France and a third of it from Carpentras.

The Popes in Avignon, and their cardinals and archbishops definitely allowed the Carpentras truffle thanks to banquets, feasts and receptions of an European scale court.

Carpentras truffle market stands on a nice square planted with plane trees, just in front of a beautiful Age of Enlightenment building, from the Friday before the beginning of the Saint-Siffrein Fair (27th of November) until the end of March. The produce being wreath in mystery, the market is very intimate, quiet and authentic ; wrapped in a particular atmosphere. Hidden in small bags truffles are awaited like stars, wearing their beautiful “Tuber Melanosporum” black dress, their fragrance flies all over the market.

From time to time, these pickers come to ask for a share of the exclusive right to pick up truffles in the state woods and forests of Mont Ventoux. All of this happens with no problem among this strongly united small world.

The best ones should be firm, round shaped and not too big but well chiselled coarse-grained is to be seen on the outward appearance. Small groups of tightly packed men and women speak very low, ready to work “romaine” (scale) and “filoche” (rake) in their hands ; the transactions are made surreptitiously. But everything is clear, net, precise. Bags are getting bigger as they are stuffed with truffles, the market is ending. Carpentras market is used as the reference to the other regional market. “Caveur” (pickers) from eight departments come to show their “rabasses” (truffles) to brokers, merchants, wholes alers and preservers coming from all over France.

If the Vaucluse is considered as a huge truffle field, the Carpentras plain is cradle of this high quality and unique product. The truffle production is of course also helped by a high quality chalky soil, a good hydrometry, nice weather conditions, a perfect altitude and the presence of specific tree species in the Comtat. Carpentras and its surrounding are proud of their truffle tradition both on the commercial and production levels. The truffle is really rooted in Carpentras ; first with its market but also thanks of its truffle fields, its canning factories, its exhibitions, its teching at the agricultural high school and last but not least to its restaurants.

The truffle is renowned for its gastronomic, aromatic, and dietary qualities. It is easily digested and contains plenty of fiber and amino acids. It contains 80% of water and little fat. From the most ancient times it has been known for its medical qualities ; against pain, gout and weakness. During the past century doctors used to prescribe truffle water against vomiting and diarrhoea, and to stimulate the organs.

But it is mainly thanks to its gastronomic qualities that the Carpentras truffle is so famous, thanks toits generous flavour and unique aroma. Chefs in Carpentras and elsewhere are absolutely right when they say that the truffle is their best ingredient.

When the truffles have been bought for canning from dealers, the dirt is taken off them and they are sorted by variety (Tuber Melanosporum, Brumale) and by quality (whole or broken). The final stage, sterilization in water heated to 118°C takes 2h45. The truffle looses 25% of its weight in liquid, “truffle juice” which is very useful. The Conserverie Vian is a specialist in Carpentras.

The Brotherhood was born on february 1999 by Mr Guy Bernard, member of the Carpentras Town Council in charge of Tourism, and by all his team which is found of the Tuber Melanosporum. The brothers are wearing a special suit and their reason are : to know, to love, to apreciate, to defend and to promote the Comtat Venaissin & Mont Ventoux black truffle. To contact the Brotherhood : 04 90 60 33 33 Durbesson Castle - Carpentras truffes@truffes.org www.truffes.org

With the same passion for Comtat products and all together around the Black Diamond, members of the Club have a strong link with the Brotherhood of the Order of Mont Ventoux & Comtat Venaissin Truffle and with the Truffle Producers Regional Union, to join their forces to promote the Tuber Melanosporum. A three parts document has been made to limitate the partnership conditions. The most important article concerns the quality and the information of each customer.

So, restaurants, hotels and shops owners have to promote this product and work with the brotherhood to organize shows, fairs and markets about the truffle. Those who participate have a sticker in front of the door of their shop, restaurant or hotel. You can find the list of Club members at the Tourist information Office.

THE BLACK TRUFFLE FAIR

On every 1st sunday of february

Come and discover “la rabasse” within its soil surrounded by its traditions and practices. An exhibition which gives good vibrations to all of your five senses. Régional and craft products Truffle hunting demonstrations with dogs and pigs Truffle omelette tasting sessions Events, meetings... The place to go, the event of the truffle season...

Mycorhized plant (ie : when an underground growing mushroom is combined with a root), controlled by the INRA or the CTIFL, or producer according to the traditionnal way, are available. You can find them at the MIN (National Interest Market) every Friday mornings (professional) or on the Truffle Market (retail).

TRUFFLES PRODUCING YOUNG PLANTS

PROFESSIONNALS PRODUCERS OF TRUFFLE PLANTS
Jean-Marie REY Gilbert ESPENON Maurice CLOP Laurent GILLES 04 04 04 04

A SPECIFIC TRAINING FROM PLANTING...

Its members know how to share their passion of the “Tuber Melanosporum” with you. This noble fuit keeps its secret from the earth to the palate. Passion tinged with an authentic and age-old way of life.

Information : C.F.P.P.A. - Lycée Louis Giraud Carpentras Serres - Tel : 04 90 60 80 92

During 3 days of training, the fundamental points of the truffle culture are tackled thus allowing the trainers to handle every technical element they need to create or to maintain their truffle field in the best possible conditions and so to guarantee good gathering of this mysterious and sublime black diamond.

A list of restaurant which have special Office of Carpentras.

dishes with truffle, hotels and shops, is available at the Tourist Information

Creation : Communication office of Carpentras - Pictures : town of Carpentras

To transmit the result of research and development and its corollary application to the present and future truffle cultivator, the CFFPA (adult training center) of Carpentras, working in close collaboration with the Vaucluse producers union and the FRPT (Truffle Producers Regional Union) of Provence, organizes each year two weeks of training, one in March, the other in November.

... TO MARKETING

TOURIST INFORMATION OFFICE

90 90 90 90

70 66 65 72

36 01 72 87

00 03 46 97

Visit of truffle plantations, demonstrations given by producers... Informations : 04 90 63 00 78

THE MONT VENTOUX & COMTAT VENAISSIN TRUFFLE BROTHERHOOD ORDER www.truffes.org

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful