At this 11-acre organic farm outside Aix-en-Provence, American Lisa Pepin and her French husband, Johann, lead truffle-hunting tours in English during both the summer (May to September) and winter (mid-November to mid-March) truffle seasons. Guests search for “black gold” while learning about how truffles are harvested and truffle dogs are trained, then enjoy a sampling of fresh truffle hors d’oeuvres, Champagne, and Les Pastras’ olive and truffle oils. During the hunt, the Pepins regale their visitors with stories of success and sabotage, while teaching them the difference between a Provençale truffle and its inferior Chinese counterparts, and how to properly clean, store, and cook with truffles. Johann’s enchanting tales and Lisa’s joie de vivre will have you coming back for more, only next time to stomp grapes, harvest olives, or simply shop the farm’s delicious products.
Hunt for Truffles in Provence
Provence is an intoxicating place to be in late summer when Parisians and other tourists have returned home, but the weather is still hot and the days still long. It was during this period one warm evening that I went on a truffle hunt In the Luberon at the organic farm of the Franco-American couple Johann and Lisa Pepin. The couple inherited the farm and in 2008 they discovered the oak trees on the property were producing truffles. They’ve planted more trees in the hopes of creating even more summer and winter truffles (never a for sure thing). A big part of their business is agrotourism and they offer truffle hunting tours where curious truffle lovers can go out with Johann and two well trained truffle dogs. By the end you have a basket full of fresh truffles and you complete the experience by enjoying truffle slices on bread and local cheese with Champagne while sitting next to the Pepin’s pool as the setting sun casts everything in a rose gold hue. As if you didn’t already want to escape the rat race and live out your “Year in Provence” fantasy already.