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THE LAND OF THE BLACK DIAMONDS

THE LAND OF THE BLACK DIAMONDS (36 photos) Send this reportage Send this reportage
Richerenches, the cradle of truffle in the Provence region of France. For a very long time, Richerenches has been producing the renowned "Tuber Melanosporum" or "rabasse" in Provençal dialect which grows at the foot of the truffle oak. It is collected November through March, a period during which takes place the traditional Truffles ’Market” ...
© J. Lepage BPA./TheReportage.com
Categories: Hostels & restaurants, Kitchen & traditions, Wines & Gastronomy, Tourism, Offbeat, Winter, Autumn
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Richerenches, the cradle of truffle in the Provence region of France. For a very long time, Richerenches has been producing the renowned "Tuber Melanosporum" or "rabasse" in Provençal dialect which grows at the root of the truffle oak. It is collected from November through March, a period during which "The Traditional Truffles ’Market” takes place. Richerenches has been declared “Capital of the Quality Truffle” and also “Remarkable Site for Taste” by the National Council of Culinary Arts. Nowadays, the Richerenches truffle' markets are, in volume, the most important of Europe. With 200 to 800 kilos of truffles, they represent 50 % of the contribution made on the main French south-eastern markets and 30% of French national production.
Every Saturday mornings, brokers, truffles producers and buyers coming from all over France and Europe are meeting in the village. The truffles producers arrive early morning with their production but markets don’t get really busy before 10 am. Talks are about one topic only: the truffle. After making the price of that black diamond, conversations are animated, bags are weighed with one hand and truffles are inspected: All of the above in the intimacy of a car trunk… Then sales are finally getting started.

The truffles’ mass
The third Sunday of January, a very particular mass takes place in Richerenches: The truffles’ mass pays tribute to Saint Antoine (the patron saint of truffles producer) and venerates the black diamond. Mass starts at 10:30 am in the village’s church. The particularity of this mass, which homily is given in Provençal dialect, is that when its time to take the collection, people possessing truffles may put them into the basket instead of the traditional change.
After the religious songs of a choir selected for the occasion, the members of the Black Diamond and Gastronomy Confraternity (whose headquarters are in Richerenches), all in ceremonial dress, get out of church followed by the assistance. On the church’s parvis, they proceed with the truffles weighing prior to heading for the city hall square where the truffles bidding for the church sole benefit.