The truffle for the cook

For a cook, truffles are a perfume, an aroma, a taste, a dish, a powerful adjuvant. It is one of the most precious and noble and absolutely natural products that the earth can produce. But beware, with such a gem you need humility. True, truffles perfume the products with which they are associated, whether it is the clothes of the shavers or the eggs through their shells, but that is no reason to put them in any sauce, nor to sprinkle them on failed dishes. There are incompatibilities of nature and season that must be respected. There are privileged agreements, harmonies to explore, to discover, to know, to intensify. The truffle by its mysterious side inclines to research and like any precious gem carries within it the danger of pretentious sophistication. It takes a lot of work but it is necessary to surround it with sobriety so that the gourmet still has things to discover and so that he can finally indulge in this rite of contentment above the dish where truffles are used.


The truffle since man has been cooking has been almost sacred and adorned with sulphurous possibilities. Like everything that is sacred and mysterious, she has created very curious rituals and tasty ways around her. There is the market where truffles are sold or rather exchanged between connoisseurs for money. It is clever not to show you want to buy, it is also clever not to want to sell: "This year, there are none! There hasn't been one for 100 years and more.... The more rare a product is, the more expensive it is, the more skilful, and skilled the one who has found it despite all the bad luck that has fallen on the region; the more fortunate the buyer is to have addressed the right planer.


And there is the price, the market price, like in the basket of the stock market. Who's staring at him? No one knows that! Word of mouth and rumour are a major factor in the rating of this "Cac 40 special rabasse". But the price is the price. We trade one down, the other up, we agree and we no longer change our mind.


Once, a broker came to the restaurant; we had known each other for a long time. We finally agree on the thing and the price and the sale is concluded. We weigh, we calculate. The price was 2.28 Euros (15 francs) higher than a round sum. I said, "Let's round it up,""No way!" For more than half an hour we talked. He wouldn't give me a discount of 2.28 Euros. I gave up and we drank the champagne to celebrate the transaction. He paid 18.29 Euros (120 francs) for the champagne with a smile, but he hadn't given me five grams or even a gram of truffles. And they're all like that. Generous with their money to mark friendship, but stingy and secret from their damn rabasse.


Truffles are still 4,000 years of delicacies since the Sumerians and a few years of excommunication because of their aphrodisiac reputation. Its black flesh, its reputation as a stimulant for love the mysteries of itsappearance in the ground sometimes led it to be considered as the concretion of the soul of the damned blackened by their sins.


Truffles, it was said in Provence, are "pu negros que l'amo d'un danna" (blacker than the soul of a damned man).


is the truffle an aphrodisiac? Does it predispose to a romantic relationship? Opinions are divided. On this subject, here is a strange story1 that was still told in Roumoules (Alpes de Haute Provence) about thirty years ago before we cleared the forest, before we built it, before we flooded it.


1: The tale of the septic and truffle caveur.

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