Truffle time in Lot

© T.Joly
Fine dining with great wines, cooking classes, walks through truffle groves, harvest demonstrations,… During the black truffle harvest season several events centered around this delicacy are organized throughout the Lot department.

[ Practical ]

Getting there
- By road
580 km from Paris on autoroutes A6a, A10, A71 et A20.
- By train
Intercités train from Paris Austerlitz to Cahors. The journey takes from 5 h 10 to 5 h 45.
- By plane
Air France flight to Toulouse, then car rental to reach Cahors located 110 km away.
Hop Airlinair flight to Brive-la-Gaillarde, then car rental to reach Cahors located 100 km away.
- Hotels
La Chartreuse, in Cahors
Le Terminus, in Cahors
Hôtel Jean XXII, in Cahors
Le Vinois, in Caillac
Château de Mercues
Clau del Loups, in Anglars Juillac
- Bed and Breakfast
Château La Roussille, near Cahors
Château Prieuré La Condamine, in Parnac
Domaine Delmas, in Parnac
Le Mas Azémar, in Mercues
Le Marché, in Cahors
L’O à la Bouche, in Cahors
Le Ballandre, in Cahors
Lou Bourdie, in Bach
Au Rince Cochon, in Limogne-en-Quercy
Le Gindreau, in Saint Médard Catus
Le Vinois, in Caillac
La Table de Haute Serre, in Cieurac
Getting around
It is necessary to have a car
Cahors Malbec Lounge
Place François Mitterrand, 46000 Cahors
- Tapas evening : €35
- Diners d’Exception : €90
- Information and bookings : 0685793294,
La Table de Haute-Serre
- 100% truffle menu : €79
- Truffle-cooking course : €99
- Truffle and wine pairing workshop : €45
- Information and bookings : 0565208020,
- Cahors wines
- Cahors Tourist Office
Tel : 0565532065
- Lot Tourist Office
Tel : 0565350709
From December to early March the Lot department beats to the rhythm of one of its most famous productions : the black truffle – or Tuber Melanosporum – that is harvested during this period.
On this occasion the town of Cahors hosts the “Cahors Malbec & Truffle Festival” a series of events organized in January and February that celebrate this subterranean mushroom sought after by epicures as well as Cahors wines. The 2017 edition will start on Monday January 16th with a “Diner d’Exception” comprising six dishes created two famous chef and served along with great wines at the Malbec Lounge of the Villa Cahors Malbec, headquarters and showcase of the AOC’s producers.

Table de Haute Serre © T.Joly
 Special menus
Another one featuring a different chef will be held on Monday February 6th at the same place. In between these two dates, on Thursday February 2nd, the Malbec Lounge will host a Melani Festum evening offering guests the chance to taste ten truffle tapas accompanied with Cahors wines. There will be truffles on sale as well.
In addition, during these three months many restaurants have special menus comprising truffle-based dishes. Let’s name Le Marché, La Chatreuse and l’O à la Bouche in Cahors, the Château de Mercues in Mercues, Le Lion d'Or in Lalbenque, Le Gindreau in Saint-Médard, Lou Bourdie in Bach that is famous among locals for its truffle omelet and so on. At the Chateau de Haute Serre, one of the leading wine estates of the Cahors AOC, the Table de Haute Serre restaurant goes even further with the Toques N’Truffes event.

Searching for truffles © T.Joly
 Truffle harvest
From January to March, each Tuesday, the chef Adrien Manac'h creates a five courses 100% truffle menu. Of course, the restaurant also features truffle dishes on its menu the other days. In addition, truffle-cooking coursesas well as truffle and wine pairing workshops are organized on specific dates.
If you want to learn more about truffle, go to the South East of the department, near Limogne-en-Quercy and Lalbenque, the main area of production. There, you can attend a demonstration of “cavage”, name given to the action of searching for truffles that is carried out with specially trained dogs or pigs locating them thanks to their sense of smell. The truffle grower also explains under which trees this mushrooms grows, how to create a truffle grove, what is the best-suited climate and why the annual harvest has fallen a dramatically during the last century.
These two villages also host the only two wholesale markets in Lot. They take place on Friday in Limogne-en-Quercy and on Tuesday in Lalbenque.

Ttruffle market Lalbenque © T.Joly
 €500 to €1,000 per kilo
But only 35 kg to 50 kg in bad years and no more than 15 kg when it snows or frosts. This mushroom is indeed very sensitive to the climate conditions and harvest is usually poor if a drought occurred during summer. Completely free, prices depend on supply and demand and range from 500 € to 1 000 € per kilo. That’s a heck of a lot of money and truffle producers sell their whole weekly harvest as a single lot weighing from a few dozens grams to several kilos. If you are tempted, be careful, lots are not all homogeneous in quality and be aware that fresh truffles loose 20% of their weight once cleaned and brushed.
If you only want to buy a few, it’s more economical and easier to go to the little retail market held in the same street. Of course, prices are higher, from €1,000 to €1,200 per kilo, but truffles are sold in smaller quantities and even one by one.

December 24, 2016
Thierry Joly