The area around Carpentras (84 Vaucluse, Provence) is famous for its truffles (known as the “Black Diamond” or Diamant Noire) and November sees the first of the weekly Truffle markets (Marché aux Truffes) in the Place Aristide Briand. In true French style there is ceremony and celebration for the first market of the season, with the initiation of new members of the Truffle Brotherhood and a tasting of Omelette aux Truffes.
But beyond the ceremony, the image is one of huddled groups of (mainly) men, jealously guarding their prized truffles and haggling hard in muffled voices and surreptitious gestures to get a good (and high) price before they reluctantly part with their mysterious but pungent treasyre.
The market runs every Friday until mid-March.
For more info see www.carpentras-ventoux.com
Other Truffle markets are held in Uzès (30 Gard, Languedoc) and Richerenches (84 Vaucluse, Provence). There is also an online Truffle market in the Dordogne – see http://www.frenchduck.com/2006/11/online_truffle_market.html