Nature's Black Gold: The Black Périgord Truffle
One of the most coveted and luxurious foods on earth, black truffles are a treasured ingredient in top restaurants throughout the globe. Only available for a small period of the year, from late autumn until early spring, Hotel d’Angleterre is marking truffle season by offering a very special Truffle Experience throughout February. Designed to showcase the outstanding flavour of this precious delicacy, the menu available at Windows Restaurant in the Geneva hotel includes a selection of black truffle specialities, each made with black Périgord truffle. Choose from Jerusalem artichoke soup, served with an egg, cooked to perfection at 65°C, beef carpaccio dressed with truffle oil, or an indulgent Aquerello risotto with a parmesan chip. Alternatively, keep it simple with a sublime plate of fresh tagliolini pasta with truffle. For added indulgence opt for a supplement of freshly grated black truffle on your dish of choice.
Named after the region in the Dordogne where it’s found, the black Périgord truffle is one of the most exalted of its kind and is available from December through March. However, this variety is believed to be at its best in January and February, when its chocolatey flavour and distinctive aroma are at their peak. Increasingly difficult to find, Périgord truffles are among the rarest, most coveted truffles on the market. Gourmands all over the world are keen to sample this delicacy, collected from the woods of the Périgord by ‘rabassiers,’ or truffle hunters. The hunters rely on the traditional and laborious method of using dogs or pigs to help locate the truffles. Sows are particularly skilled at this, not only because pigs have an excellent sense of smell, but also because the scent of a truffle has similarities to a pheromone released by boars. The downside is that, once the pigs locate a truffle, they usually eat it themselves, hence why many hunters prefer to use dogs to assist their search.
In addition to gracing the menus of the finest restaurants, truffles can be found at dedicated truffle markets, which are located throughout France. The largest truffle market in the world takes place in the small, sleepy village of Richerenches, located between Avignon and Valence, whilst the market in Lalbenque, close to the Périgord, is also a sight to behold. At their prime, the fresher black truffles can fetch up to €1,000 per kilo at wholesale and around €4,000 at retail value.
Hotel d’Angleterre’s Truffle Experience is available throughout February at the hotel’s Windows Restaurant.