The official opening of the 2011-2012 Tuber Melanosporum season kicked off today in the town of Richrenches with a procession by the Brotherhood of the Black Diamond and a special mass blessing these elusive gems. Interestingly truffle are placed into the collection basket as opposed to coins or bank notes. Producers, brokers and just plain old admirers were on hand to attend an entire day dedicated to the first truffles available.
Snail farming or héliciculture in French (from the scientific term Helix which is one of the varieties of snails that can be farmed) is making a come-back. They aren’t really completely free-range as the giant pens have an electric fence so that they don’t just wonder off and so that their natural predators, like hedge hogs and birds don’t get there first.
Late in 2010 I wrote about how the United Nations had declared the French meal one of the world’s most cultural treasurers. The Gastronomic Meal of France has since been on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. On the UNESCO website it reads “The gastronomic meal of the French plays an active social role within its community and is transmitted from generation to generation as part of its identity.”