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Four-star wine estate Château de Mercuès in France’s Lot Valley has launched an immersive black truffle Toques ‘n’ Truffles experience in winter 2020.

Native to southern Europe the black truffle is one of the most expensive edible mushrooms in the world. Paired with Michelin star cuisine and a winery tour, guests will explore a world-famous truffle market and scent-out black diamonds, as the delicacy is locally known, with truffle hunter dog Iago.

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Taking place on selective dates in February 2020, the two-night package includes accommodation at 13th century castle Château de Mercuès, which has been transformed by local winegrower Georges Vigouroux into a prestigious wine estate.

During the Toques ‘n’ Truffles experience guests will traverse the valley and forests alongside Christine Vigouroux and her Labrador Iago, as they go in search of the aromatic black truffle – between November and March the Lot Valley is awash with them.

The region’s limestone plateau and open landscape have created the perfect biological combination that allows truffles to cultivate, and guests will follow Christine and Iago’s lead as they head to the edge of oak woods and the moorlands looking for browning damp ground, a sign that truffles could be present. Iago will systematically check the ground, and when her tail starts wagging, you’ll know you’ve struck gold.

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Guests will then enjoy the fruits of their labour with a four course Toques ‘n’ Truffles lunch at La Table de Haute-Serre. The restaurant holds a Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand and is located at the Vigouroux’s sister property Château de Haute-Serre. It’s then onto the world-renowned Lalbenque truffle market in Quercy.

The market takes place once a week during peak winter truffle season and is one of the most famous places in the world to buy black truffles. Sellers arrive in the main square at 2pm ready to secure the very best price for their valuable produce, and at exactly 2:30pm the rope guard is lifted allowing buyers to begin their haggling.

To round off the day, guests can relax and unwind while enjoying a Truffle Hunter’s Tea of mulled wine and milla cake back at Château de Haute-Serre.

While staying at 30-room Château de Mercuès, visitors have the opportunity to dine at Michelin star chef Julien Poisot’s Le Duèze restaurant and sample an array of local delicacies from the Menu Melano; and enjoy a three-course meal at the property’s second restaurant Bistrot du Château.

Finally, the property boasts a 40-hectare vineyard, and there will be ample time to taste their award-winning Malbec wines and explore the underground winery and ageing cellar underneath the castle terrace.

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