A rare treat for the weary travellers! Head of Marketing at The Society, Matthew Kirk, discovers the serendipitous timing of their visit with the truffle season.
A few years ago, either before my time or I just didn't get an invite, The Society hosted a 'Truffle Dinner' in London with chefs and growers from the South of France. After a long day (five visits, around 100 wines tasted, four hours driving between growers), we finished with Françoise Antech, owner of Antech who make great sparkling wines from Limoux (we currently list their Blanquette Brut Nature – ref SG1421, the sweet Méthode Ancestrale – ref SG751 & vintage Crémant – ref SG1871).
View Antech's wines
After tasting through the current range we carried on the discussion at the Hôtel de la Cité in Carcassonne. It is quiet season for the hotel, which is in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the medieval fortress. It is also happens to be the season for the harvest of local truffles so, for three weeks in January, the hôtel puts aside the usual menu, and the Michelin-starred chef Jérome designs a six-course truffle-themed dinner – truffles with everything (starters through mains, cheese and, yes, dessert).
As Françoise knows the chef (Jérome Ryon) well, he came and chatted to us before the meal, talking about the truffle season where he buys from local truffle-hunters who bring their finds to him and he agrees a price. He said he'd just bought some that day so we cheekily asked if we could have a look and he brought out the plastic box filled with truffles below.
Over €1000 of truffles, freshly dug
Somewhere between €1000 and €1500 for this crop. They don't look very appetising but he keeps them in their soil and cleans them just before thinly slicing them for the meal. As we were dining with Françoise Antech, she had chosen a different one of her sparkling wines to accompany each course, from Brut NV through vintage to rosé and a lovely desert sweet sparkler at only 6.5% alcohol. I particularly liked the sweet desert wine, Blanquette de Limoux Méthode Ancestrale which was a revelation and went perfectly with truffled chocolate tart!
Find out more about Antech by reading our Grower Profile