Home

 Books, Film & Music

 Travel 

 Food & Wine

Gallery

Armchair Uzès

Family & Friends

Sports

Welcome to Armchair France

 

Armchair Uzès

la Vie Quotidienne

le 2 février 2002
Uzès, France


TruffesAffiche.jpg (104147 bytes)

Truffes1.jpg (71881 bytes)
Black diamonds for the sniffing...

Truffes5.jpg (88592 bytes)
...and special "truffled" oak trees.

TruffesEnfant.jpg (65783 bytes)
Le bonhomme at the caisse takes a
well-deserved truffle omelette break!

 

The truffle market comes to town
Journée de la Truffe

A bright, sunny Sunday in late January and the Place aux Herbes in Uzès was filled with the unmistakable funky scent of truffles. Once again under the arches and all around the square, several dozen stands were selling wine, regional delicacies, books, mushrooms, “truffle-friendly” trees, and, of course, les diamants noirs (black diamonds – truffles). This year’s prices were up…way up, nearly 30% from last year, at 700-900 euros per kilo. That's nearly US$25 per ounce, which would put a ping-pong-ball-sized truffle at about $18. Why so high? Fewer truffles were harvested this year, primarily because of very dry weather.
     Taking in the scene with eyes, ears and noses alert, we strolled around and decided that our truffle experience this year would be “on the spot.” A family of four had set up a stand selling truffle omelettes, with the daughter putting together the egg mixture, maman cooking the omelettes to order, the 5-year-old son working the cash register, and papa (bon père de famille) overseeing everything and chatting up the customers. Délicieux et bon marché – for 8 euros we each had a 3-egg omelette sprinkled with black truffles. We also found a “torte au ch” a goat-cheese-and- black-truffle filled pastry which we brought home for our dinner ...superbe!
     Interest and attendance was once again high this year, with many sniffings going on. We were thrilled to watch the unfolding drama:  looks of ecstasy at the scent, consternation at the price, frowns in negotiating, and smiles of satisfaction at concluding a purchase.
     The mysterious and elusive truffle, hunted in carefully guarded locations by men and women with pigs and dogs, has seen a tremendous decline in harvest over the past 100 years. At the beginning of the 20th century, more than 1000 tons were gathered annually in France. The mid-1990s saw an average annual 50-ton harvest. Today that volume is down to 25-30 tons per year.
     In addition to the black truffle of Languedoc and Provence, there are highly prized black truffles from the Perigord, Quercy, and Burgundy. And the white truffle from the Piemont region of northwest Italy, worshipped for its perfume and taste, commands more than 2000 euros per kilo. The world of truffles and trufficulture is unique…but we still wonder who thought about and then had the nerve to taste the first one and proclaim it a delicacy. Whoever it was, he or she created a craze that’s been going on for thousands of years. Vive la truffe!  For more truffle market photos...

 

Rugby rules! 
A hearty group of sports fans of all ages got together in Uzès for a Saturday afternoon of rugby watching…and what rugby, the Tournament of Six Nations. On the program:  France vs. Italy, beer, popcorn, and whiskey. Jeremie, Rafaël, Gwen, Gaël, Robinson, and Joe cheered the French XV to victory, a resounding 35-12 in spite of a slow start by the French.
     But this is just the first step for France. They’ll play Wales in two weeks to move ahead in the tournament. Allez bleu…

 


MecsRugby2.jpg (62838 bytes)

Les mecs de rugby...

Rugby11.jpg (69677 bytes)

 


Le rugby à la française
Sept mecs (six jeunes invités et Joseph, assez jeune) arrivent pour regarder le match de rugby France/Italie à la télé…quelle opportunité pour Joseph d’apprendre les règles et aussi de bavarder en français. Au programme:  bière, popcorn, et whiskey à go go. Après quelques actions de jeu, l’ambience est au rendez-vous. La France commence difficilement mais finit par l’emporter, 35-12! Pour fêter la victoire, Joseph ouvre une deuxième bouteille de Johnny Walker (la première étant finie). La France doit jouer contre le Pays de Galles (Wales) dans deux semaines…à suivre…
(contribué par Jeremie et Gwen)

 

 

Euro – you’re OK…
Ça va avec l'euro...

How goes the euro? First month’s experience in France (and a dozen other European countries) has been interesting. A variety of pièces (1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 centime pieces and 1 and 2 euro coins) makes for lots of frowning at, picking through, and finally passing over a handful of coins to various proprietors to let them sort out the proper amount. Adding to the coin confusion is the fact that the majority of price conversions during these early months have been made on an exact basis. Example: a baguette, formerly 4F20 is now 67 centimes; the former 100F menu at a restaurant is 15,06 euros. Rather than rounding up or down, proprietors are choosing to go with the precise conversion. You're holding lots of small change that seems impossible to count in the midst of a transaction, so you end up just giving over a euro bill or coin and getting back even more of the endless change…sorcerer’s apprentice!

So many coins...   Eurocoins.jpg (34903 bytes)   ...so little time to figure out which is which!

     Of course all this will sort itself out, and in fact the vast majority of French (and Europeans) have made the transition quite well with only a minimum of grumbling. What they are grumbling about is looming price inflation. Many believe that in converting to the euro, prices are being rounded up…or will be once this several-month transition period is over. A special French Consumer Protection Council is keeping watch on prices across the country to keep the public informed.
     Another issue raising eyebrows and hackles is price comparisons among participating countries. Previously a cup of coffee in Germany, France, Italy or such, had a particular price in that country’s currency…now that prices are all in euros, the price variations among countries on basic goods and services is becoming more apparent…and making for heated discussion.
     But the euro is here to stay (the UK's choice not to follow suit notwithstanding), and is being felt across borders. With each participating country creating a distinctive face on one side of its coins (a bit like the state quarters introduced in the US over the past few years), we’re starting to see euro coins from other countries dribbling into the local money supply. In sum, minimal problems but much discussion. The European Union's first major consumer move appears to have a few bumps, but in general the average Eurocitizen is doing quite well in negotiating the new monetary minefield. 

Much more to come, so stay tuned!

 

 

Take a peek at the
Armchair Photo Gallery...
Check out other editions of
Armchair Uzès...
 

 

Home

 Books, Film & Music

 Travel 

 Food & Wine

Gallery

Armchair Uzès

Family & Friends

Sports

Email us your news and comments:  info@armchairfrance.com



© 2000- 2007 by Armchair France.  All rights reserved.  Not to be reproduced without permission from authors.