Around France

Uzès Truffle Festival Star: Madame Cochan

While Uzès Truffle Festival 2022 is smaller than usual due to COVID, the truffle hunting pig put on a show. Here’s a look back …

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Saturday night I served a fancy pork terrine bought in the Loire Valley to friends who were in town for Uzès’ Truffle Festival. That bite of pork could have been my last. I’m in love with pigs.

I’ve always had an attraction to pigs, namely Porky Pig, Piglet, Babe, and Miss Piggy. However, the attraction never kept me from having more than my share of pork barbecue, pork chops, ham, and bacon. Yesterday, though, I fell under the spell of a truffle-hunting pig. She was awesome.

 

Uzes Black Truffle Festival

Truffle hunting pig in Uzès

 

Uzes Black Truffle Festival

Snout down finding a truffle

 

UzèsTruffle Festival Activities

Let me set the stage …

Sunday morning, under a bright sunny sky, there was a brisk Mistral wind blowing across the main plaza in Uzès, Place aux Herbes. Crowds of couples, families, and singles were scurrying towards the center of the plaza to join in on the Black Truffle Festival festivities.

Uzes Black Truffle Festival

Morning view of Place aux Herbes in preparation for the Truffle Festival

 

In the square, there was a huge tent and dozens of little food stands, each filled with vendors with their renditions of truffled delicacies. 

Merchants with truffle paraphernalia were set up to sell knives, bags, truffle shavers, and more.

Uzes Black Truffle Festival

Truffle gadget vendor in Uzès

 

There were even tiny tree starts implanted with truffles at their roots so you could take one home.

Uzes Black Truffle Hunt

A “truffle pen” filled with dirt and small trees was set up along one side of the plaza. It had been seeded with black truffles that were free to any man, woman, or child with a dog who could find them. 

 

Not one dog found a truffle, but one stole the show. Nancy McGee’s 2-pound Papillon, Jewel. 

Uzes Black Truffle Festival

 

 

 

 

Jewel was the show stopper … until the truffle-hunting pig arrived. 

Uzes Black Truffle Festival

 

“Madame Cochon” rooted where others n’er dared to go.

 

She snorted and dug until every truffle was sorted out.

Uzes Black Truffle Festival

Finding a truffle

 

Surely Madame Cochon’s talent was due to the mutual admiration between her and her master. You might even call it piggy love. 

Uzes Black Truffle Festival

 

Who could resist such a loveable pig?

Uzes Black Truffle Festival

 

 

Even the piglets-in-waiting were envious. 

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Uzes Black Truffle Festival Auction

Meanwhile, back at center stage, a truffle auction was starting. Truffles that had been blessed at an earlier church service were up for sale to the highest bidders to raise money for charity.

 

Uzes Black Truffle Festival

Blessed truffles for auction

 

Each truffle was carefully cleaned, weighed, and sold, starting at 1000 euros per kilo.

Uzes Black Truffle Festival

Truffle auction

 

All was supervised by the ever-present Compagnie Bachiques — a group of wine-loving men who show up at every wine event, dressed in the colors and golden coat of arms of the Duchy of Uzes. It is their duty to spread the word about wines from the region and to proclaim:

 

“VINO NON AQUA” 

 

Uzes Black Truffle Festival

 

 

Uzes Black Truffle Festival

Uzes Black Truffle Festival

Uzes Black Truffle Sales

 

All through the day curious and, truffle-hungry guests mobbed vendors who were selling truffles by weight. 

Uzes Black Truffle Festival

Selling truffles by weight

 

 

Precious truffle oil, butter, and cheese sold fast.

Uzes Black Truffle Festival

 

Those seeming to have the most fun were those who just showed up for the experience, the food, the company, and the wine.

 

Uzes Black Truffle Festival

 

Uzes Black Truffle Festival

 

What truffle delight did I buy? A little block of truffle butter, cheese with truffles, and a small jar of truffle pate that I’ll give away — it’s made with pork! 

Uzes Black Truffle Festival

Barefoot Blogger “do I shop or take photos?”

Oh yes … and dare I forget? Nancy and I polished off a few Truffle macaroons with a nice pot of tea before she left for her drive back to Sete.

Uzes Black Truffle Festival

 

Another fun day in the South of France!

Uzes Black Truffle Festival

 

18 replies »

    • After my own heart! Hope you spend lots of time in France. It’s pretty wonderful. Thanks for reading and letting me hear from you.

  1. What a beautiful postcard you have drawn of Uzès, it is a fabulous weekend around the gastronomy and the art of living in our beautiful city Uzès. As an American, thank you very much Déborah for sharing your experience with your community 🙂

  2. So much fun to spend a day with you (teleported through pictures) at the truffle fest. What a wonderful winter celebration!!

    • I’ve grown to love truffles, they’re everywhere in Uzès during the festival. Hopefully it will get back to full steam next year. Thank you!

  3. I absolutely loved this article – and I love truffles and pork and pigs – I choose to distance myself from identifying the food with the animals. Pigs make such wonderful pets – ask George Clooney. Great article-lots of fun!

    • Lol Glad to know someone else thinks like I do. I even considered a pot-belly pig for a pet one time. I’m sure that would have stirred up a story or two. Thanks so much for writing and for following the BFB. So great to hear from you.

  4. it was fun and well attended. Nice sunny weather and another cuddly pig! Apparently those were artificial truffles that they had planted in the sand.

    • Interesting! Although I wonder how the pig smelled them? Did you buy any? Thanks for the eyewitness report. I’ll be back soon!

    • The original post was written in 2017. This year’s event was much reduced in size due to Covid. I understand people and guests to Uzès are as diligent about wearing masks, or more, than in the US. Indoors a QR code showing 3 vaccines is required to enter. Nevertheless, Covid is bad everywhere.

  5. What a great day!! I should have had Dante, my Lagotto there to challenge your adorable pig! They are a truffle hunting breed! So much fun! So wish I was there!

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