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BKWine Travel Stories: Truffles, truffles and truffles – and Vacqueyras wine

It’s raining, but nothing can change our detirmination to go truffles hunting.

We have our truffles man, whos well hidden at the end of a winding country road. Rain still keeps fallling when Eric and Polka (the truffles dog) takes us out to the truffle forest. By the way, truffles are surrounded by many “myths”, let’s kill a few: you don’t hunt truffles with a pig. You did a long time ago but today, generally, you use a dog. They’re friendlier, and easier to manage (and to transport) than a pig. Second, the dog dosen’t have to be an exotic race from Italy or somwhere else. We’ve met several truffles dogs and they have been all sorts of races. Some are what the call in French “bastards”, perhaps not very kind, but it’s simply a mixed race dog. Polka, our dog, is charming, very young and very keen to go truffle huntig with us.

In the end, it’s not a bad truffles day, in spite of muddy feet, muddy hands, wet clothes and more. We even find a BIG one wheighing in at 156 grams!

And after the wet morning it’s nice to settle in the dining room for a truffles lunch:

-truffles canapees of two kinds: pate and truffles buttre with a truffle slice on top and sea salt

– scrambled eggs with truffles and a crips slice of country bred fried in olive oil

– a delicious fish and tagliatelle pasta with a creamy truffles sauce

– cheese: truffles stuffed camambert on a bed of young salad leaves with olive oil and truffles dressing

– creme brule’ with a thin slice of truffle on top

A entire meal with everything with truffels, except the coffee…

And with some truffles in the bag to bring home for hose who so wish. What better occasion to buy one of the luxurious tuber melanosporum than when you’ve hunted it down yourself?

Difficult to follow that with a “down to earth” wine visit (as if truffles weren’t down to, or in, the earth) but Domaine des Amouriers in Vacqueyras in the southren Rhone valley does a very good job of it. They have a range of wines from “simple” vin de pays over Vacqueyras AOC to their “prestige” 100% syrah aged in barrel. My favourite is their vieille vigne made primarily with grenache (called cuvee Haut des Terrasses). Full of local character (which is masked a bit in the other more “prestigeous”, barrel aged syrah wine), garrigue, herbs, spices… An excellent domaine with wines that are indeed very good value!

Tomorrow off to Chateauneuf!

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