Hey! This is blog Team 4: Zach, Tanner, and Emily.
It was a beautiful weekend in Southwestern France, where the sun decided to pop its head out for the long awaited day trip to the Perigord! We took a break from the hustle and bustle of city life and took to the countryside to enjoy fresh green grass and rolling hills. The Périgord is a region in Southwest France known for its rich history, wildlife, and cuisine. Humans have been preparing food there longer than anywhere else in France (due to prehistoric connections in the Périgord). Most importantly, it is the center of truffle production– our main reason for making the trip!
We began our Saturday morning awaiting our chariot (office of tourism bus) to take us to the countryside. However, the wait was a little bit longer than we expected… Instead of becoming worried and upset our group said “On s’adapte!” and walked around shining Bordeaux enjoying the sun and a café until the new bus arrived; in no time we were on our way to the Périgord!
Cate and Emily with the beautiful countryside home– our restaurant for the day!
It was a quick change of scenery as we drove away from paved sidewalks into vast lands of green. After a smooth ride, we arrived at the Truffle farm where we were immediately greeted by the owner of the farm and home. We didn’t waste any time when it came to eating, and immediately sat down in their rustic countryside home for a meal that can only be described as “the best food I’ve ever eaten” (-Grace Caldwell). As any great chef does, he explained to us how each course was prepared and various facts about truffles or “les truffes!” The first course was a small piece of pain (bread) with a truffle infused spread.
No true French meal is complete without l’eau de vie, which in English translates to the water of life. However, in France l’eau de vie refers to the life necessity– alcohol, specifically wine. With our meal we sipped on a sweet white wine called a Rosette. In contrast, we were served a bottle of red– a 2011 Château de Lys.
A smooth red wine called Chateau de Lys
Next came a dish called “La Brouillade” or in layman’s terms– fancy scrambled eggs. In short, this dish is prepared by whisking an egg, putting it in a container with truffle and leaving it in the fridge for a week. After this delicious dish, we were served les pâtes (pasta) with sauce aux truffes overtop (truffle sauce). On deck was a lightly dressed salad and a signature french cheese plate. To finish the delicious meal, was a small dish of vanilla ice cream adorned with a truffle caramel sauce. The perfect way to end a truffle meal!
Shortly after we began digesting our five course lunch, we joined a group of eager and lively people from all over the world. We were welcomed warmly as the “university students from New York.” Although we were already truffle connoisseurs, we listened to the farmer teach more truffle facts. France, Spain, and Italy are main producers of the truffle, however it was made clear to us that France reigns supreme over the latter two. This may be so, but did you know that parts of the United States produces truffles as well? California, Oregon, and North Carolina are among the truffle producing states!
Emily smells fresh truffles
Though they use dogs here at Pechalifour, pigs are expert truffle sniffers too.
The most important and interesting point of his presentation was when describing how he finds the truffles on his land. There are three methods to truffle hunting: using a trained furry four legged friend, a pig, or the method of “tapping.” This entails using a stick to tap on the ground, if une mouche (a fly) flies away from the dirt, that spot is likely where a truffle is hiding. However, lucky for us the farm had a trained dog to spot out truffles and her name was Lino! Although young, Lino had a great sense of awareness for truffles and served the group well! The SLU group was active during the hunt. Abroaders Grace Wetzel and Fiona Johnson stepped up to the plate and dug up some truffles of all different sizes- with the speedy assistance of Lino of course!
Fiona rejoices, holding her truffle
Grace digs for her truffle, the biggest found by the group
Due to our slight bus dilemma, our trip was cut a little short. However, we saw and experienced everything to make our trip one we will never forget. The day was chalk full of laughs, beautiful weather, (most importantly) a dog, and a once in a lifetime experience. After a quick group photo in front of the picturesque countryside we scurried onto the bus to return to our beautiful Bordeaux with full stomachs and happy hearts. Thank you for reading and following along!
P.S. shout out to Grace Caldwell our student intern for researching and planning this awesome day trip!
Emily, Tanner, and Zach