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©Cauvaldor Truffe Lifestyle Malikaturin 2821.jpg 1920px|Malika Turin

A full-on truffle and foie gras weekend

Food lovers so often associate the names Sarlat and Périgord Noir with truffle and foie gras that it makes sense to have an official festival celebrating the two shining lights of our local culinary scene. This same festival sees novices and connoisseurs alike flock here every January for tastings, courses, workshops and get-togethers. Prepare for a treat!

Winter Delight

January… The frost glitters on the ground and the mist lingers in the valley of châteaux and hillside vineyards early in the morning. This is when truffles reach their peak and are often traded for staggering amounts at special markets. This is also when La Boétie devotes two full days to the precious mushroom. Spend Saturday and Sunday in town and learn everything there is to know about the tuber melanosporum, or “Périgord black truffle.” It’s all about tradition. 

In the town centre

Nobody can ignore the incomparable aromas wafting through the old town’s squares and lanes during the truffle and foie gras festival. It all starts at 9am on Saturday morning beneath the marquee standing in front of Sainte-Marie Church’s main entrance.

The special market has moved from its winter home on Rue Fénelon especially for the occasion and a 3 Michelin-starred chef rings the bell to officially open the market; he is sometimes given the first truffle as a gift. Regulars have already seen the likes of Michel Guérard and Yannick Alléno launch proceedings.

This is where visitors can smell, touch and weigh up the truffles. Did you know that you can make three different dishes with just 30 grams? The fragrance is subtle yet strong! It smells different when it comes from a winter truffle… It’s a golden opportunity to learn to tell the difference between a winter truffle and a melanosporum.

Legendary "croustous"

You’re just a stone’s throw from the cathedral and Place du Peyrou where a “truffle patch” is set up. The square also sets the scene for demonstrations by established chefs and cooks with a passion for using truffle and foie gras.

It’s almost impossible not to be caught up in their tips and tricks… Whatever happens, there’s no way you’re leaving without having a taste!

As you wander back to Place de la Liberté, your senses light up again at stands where pros make the famouscroustous“. Have you heard of them? These indulgent little Périgord bites are made by famous chefs such as Pascal Lombard from Les Glycines in Les Eyzies, Lou Toupi from La Roque-Gageac and Eric Jung from Château de Monrecour in Saint-Vincent-de-Cosse. As natural born foodies, our headline tapas acts are scallop carpaccio with truffle, black truffle risotto, potato slice, truffle duck breast tartare and pan-fried foie gras escalope… And so much more! Rest assured: the croustous stands will be there tomorrow.

From theory to practice

To digest, a trip to La Sauça Vielha truffle patch at the top of Sarlat provides an insight into the huge amount of work that goes into it, we meet the farm’s dog and end the day on a high, safe in the knowledge that lots of restaurants will be celebrating the festival too. A good night’s sleep and… 

On Sunday’s agenda: a wine pairing course on the first floor of the Ancien Evêché to learn how to pair tipples from Bergerac and Duras with truffle and foie gras before a tour of the kitchen at Lycée Pré-de-Cordy catering college. This is where we learn to cook dishes such as scallop carpaccio with truffle and crunchy vegetables, oeufs mimosa with black truffle and celeriac truffle rémoulade, chocolate and truffle soufflé etc. All the inspiration you need to get creative in the kitchen once you’re home with your truffle: 30 grams costs approx. 30 Euros. 

You’re already hungry to come back for the next festival!