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Truffle Hunting and Auberge de la Truffe

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It was a drizzly summers day in France, not what we were expecting at all for our holiday in Perigord in June but perhaps the perfect day to spend in the truffle museum in Sorges and then from there to the restaurant Auberge de la Truffe for a long lunch. Perhaps if it had been gloriously sunny day we may not have indulged in a long three coursMe lunch but we were in no rush this day to walk round in the rain so Auberge de la Truffe is where we stayed. Auberge de la Truffle is a Michelin rated restaurant so we knew we were in for a treat.
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They say the best ways to eat truffle is in a salad, omelet or risotto, or if you are feeling really flash just lightly fry as much as you can afford in butter. At €60 a hundred gram it may not be too much.

We chose an omelet at the restaurant which was beautifully light and served with a salad with local walnuts, this followed a soup of carrots and we finished with a walnut parfait and chocolate sauce and an apple Tart Tatin. Well we thought we had finished but when we ordered coffee we received a plate of sweet treat to accompany the coffee; macarons, frangipane cake and pate de fruit. The service was excellent and the maitre de was very encouraging and helpful with my little French. A wonderful experience if you go truffle hunting in Perigord.

The truffle museum is just along the road, where you can learn all about the history of growing truffles to the varieties as well as how to begin your own truffle farm. I did buy myself a very very very small truffle, enough to make a risotto for two people and hope to share this with you later. I dream about cultivating my own truffles but the north island of NZ is probably too warm in winter but maybe could try with just one tree.

Here’s a few pics also of where we stayed.
Our villa and pool and the local village Bourdielles.

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Whole Balsamic Garlic Clove & Goats Cheese Tart

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As I fly off to France for a week in the Perigord Region (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Périgord) I will leave you with a summer tart of roasted garlic and goats cheese, a few of the flavours I associate with France even though the original recipe comes from Ottolenghi in London.

I love this region of France, not surprising really since it is noted for its cuisine, more particularly its products relating to ducks and geese such as foie gras as well as it being one of the truffle areas of France. We will be staying in a small chateau just outside Brantome with family and friends, funnily renting a chateau is the most economical way to stay in this region and of course the most novel.

Not only is Perigord great for cuisine, it is also steeped in history, from prehistoric cave painting sites to Roman ruins and of course hundreds of castles perched on hillsides and along the meandering rivers which I hope to show you once we return.

Ingredients
300g short crust pastry
100g goats feta cheese
3 bulbs garlic
Handful thyme
Handful rosemary
100ml creme fresh
100ml single cream
2 free range eggs
1tsp sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt & black pepper to season

Method
Pre heat oven to 170C and grease and flour a 22cm looses bottom tart tin.
Roll pastry out thinly to fit tart tin and cut off excess pastry.
Cover pastry case with a sheet of greaseproof paper and then fill with baking beans (use any dried beans).
Bake pastry case for 15 minutes and then remove beans and paper and bake for a further 10 minutes and remove from the oven.
Place garlic bulbs on a tray and bake for 15 minutes or until soft but not shrunken.
Separate and peel the cloves once cool.
Place cloves in a frying pan with a tablespoon of oil over a low heat and sauté for a few minutes.
Add the sugar, balsamic and herbs and stir through the cloves of garlic until the balsamic has been absorbed.
Crumble the feta cheese over the base of the tart case and distribute the garlic cloves and herbs over also.
Whisk together the eggs, cream and creme fresh and season lightly with salt and pepper.
Pour the egg mixture into the tart case.
Bake the tart for 25 minutes or until the egg is slightly puffed, set and golden.
Serve warm or cold.

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