A Truffle Hunting Trip; Chateau Estoublon
When Thanksgiving rolls around, naturally one thinks of family, fun and feasting on good old American classics. We were graciously invited to a lovely Thanksgiving dinner, but we decided instead to go to South of France on a hunting trip – no, not to shoot rare breeds of birds but to find a rare breed of fungi called Tuber melanosporum, the rare and elusive winter black truffle. We planned the entire trip around this event; we even selected the right outfits for such an occasion. What does one wear to hunt truffles with dogs anyway?
Upon arriving in Provence, we were met with torrential rain and cold weather. When the day arrived for this much-anticipated journey, we were saddened to find out that it had been annulé (cancelled) because the season was late this year in the Bouches-du-Rhône region and, consequently, there were no truffles to be found.
While we had visions of truffle fairies dancing in our heads, we realized that we needed to find a restaurant that would have these little delicacies brought in from another region of the south. We decided to have dinner at the Restaurant Mogador at Château d’Estoublon and reserved in advance with full inquiries as to whether truffles were on the menu that night or not – a question one must always pose because some restaurants change the menu nightly.
Château D’Estoublon is on the edge of a town called Fonvielle, a magnificent 48-acre property with vineyards and olive groves, and owned by the Schneider family, who also owns Breitling watches. This château is a must-visit for lovers of wine and fine delicacies such as olive oils, tapenades and a curated selection of delicious provençale treats, all sold in the boutique on the main floor.
Upon arriving, we were told that the chef had prepared an entire menu with truffles – even dessert – and that it would be a prix fixe. We were so thrilled, we didn’t even question the menu – which, for New Yorkers, showed remarkable restraint.
The evening was pure bliss, and the aroma of every course was truly enchanting. While we didn’t find any of the truffles ourselves, we were certainly captivated by each bite as the evening unfolded and we were served one course after the next.