There are some foods which epitomise the essence of gastronomic greatness – truffles are one of them. And good wine is another.
The legendary “black diamonds” of Provence are revered as much top chefs as by local families. They’re added to artistic dishes by master chefs around the world and by keen cooks to enhance the taste of everything from olive oil to scrambled eggs.
The great French 20th century food writer Curnonsky, when asked how he liked his truffles replied “in great quantity Madame. In great quantity.”
These earthy, mysterious and savour delicacies can be found underground in several parts of Provence. And seeking them out to enjoy with the greatest wines is a special experience that you’ll always remember.
Truffle hunting in Provence
Unique, exclusive and utterly memorable, truffle hunting takes place in winter when the truffles can be found at their best in Provence. Rhone Wine Holidays unique Truffle and wine tours takes place in February. The weather in the Luberon, Provence is usually mild and dry and often warm enough to dine outdoors wearing a jumper.
When your tour starts with a Champagne greeting – you know it’s not just going to be good, it’s going to be great. For three days you will wine and dine like royalty. Truffle theme Gourmet dinners paired with fine wines, an oyster brunch, lunch with a wine maker and with a truffle hunter. The finest food imaginable. An experience you couldn’t create without the know-how and contacts of your tour hosts Philip and Jude Reddaway. Philip is a high qualified wine master and Jude is a fabulous chef.
From your home base in the iconic wine village of Chateauneuf du Pape where you’ll stay in a beautiful village house, Philip and Jude will organise everything including transport – just sit back and enjoy the scenery, the exquisite wines and the delicious food.
You’ll hunt for the aromatic treasure with a professional truffle hunter and his highly trained dog in the remote hills of the Luberon. Afterwards, enjoy a cookery lesson using truffles and lunch at the truffle hunters home. There’s nothing to beat the taste of fresh truffle in good company.
Highlights of the Truffle & Wine Tour
To compliment your truffles, you’ll visit some of the best vineyards in Rhone Valley including top Chateauneuf du Pape estates. At this time of the year, you’ll be able to enjoy the wine and the area in tranquillity without the tourist crowds.
You’ll visit the famous Richerenches truffle market to see the professional sellers and buyers in action. It’s known as the Truffle capital of the world and is the biggest truffle market in France. Here you can shop for truffle everything – honey, olive oil, butter, cheese, even truffle escargots – what could be more French? And for a lasting memory, they even sell truffle trees you can take home, though you’ll have to wait several years until your own truffles grow.
Take a tour of this medieval village, once a Knights Templar command post, and discover Its pretty cobbled streets There’s even a truffle and wine museum.
At the end of your 4-day truffle tour, you’ll have immersed your yourself in the gastronomic and cultural heritage of Provence. And, you’ll get to know the Provence of the locals.
As the second largest wine-growing region in France, the Rhône Valley vineyards thrive on both sides of the eponymous river. Some of the most famous wines in the world come from here. The valley also revels in a rich architectural heritage.
From Lyon to the Camargue, passing through the regions of Provence and the Luberon, the Rhône Valley vineyards are divided into two large wine-growing areas. To the north, the Septentrional vineyard clings to the abrupt hillsides in the steep mountain ranges; to the south, the Meridional vineyard enjoys the plains and gentle slopes. The 14 wine routes wind through historic villages in varying landscapes. They take you to the vineyards where the famous wines are made: Hermitage, Côte-Rôtie, Beaumes-de-Venise … Between fields of lavender and olive trees, share special moments with the winemakers, learn about wine and enjoy the hundreds of wine events. Under the southern sun, discover the Palace of the Popes of Avignon, the Pont du Gard, or the ornate Pont-d’Arc cave.
The diversity of the wine-growing areas, due to the complex soils and variations of the Mediterranean climate, gives the Rhône Valley wines their unique character. Mostly reds, the wines of the Rhône are divided into three colours. In the north, robust but fine reds and aromatic whites. In the south, more full-bodied reds, expressive whites and round and fruity rosés. Sweet wines complete this large range.
- 1.See the famous cities of the region: Lyon, Vienne, Valence, Vaison la Romaine, Orange, Avignon, Nîmes, the hillside villages of the Luberon.
- 2.Take the 14 wine routes by car, on foot, by bike, on horseback, or in the air!
- 3.Taste the combinations of great wines with local delicacies: olives, truffles and goat’s cheese.
APPELLATIONS 45 appellations
38 wine districts, or appellations, in the Côtes-du-Rhône: 16 crus, two sweet wines, 18 Côtes-du-Rhône Villages Communaux, Côtes-du-Rhône Villages, Côtes-du-Rhône Régional
7 wine districts, or appellations, in the Rhône Valley: Luberon, Ventoux, Grignan-les-Adhémar, Costières-de-Nîmes, Clairette-de-Bellegarde, Duché-d’Uzès, Côtes-du-Vivarais
Reds : syrah, grenache, mourvèdre
Whites : viognier, roussanne, marsanne, grenache blanc, bourboulenc