We uncovered in our recent post the most exciting places for truffle hunting experiences, and we wanted to share another secret that we discovered on our recent trip to Provence – the village of Ménerbes. The ridge-top village in the Vaucluse area is a delight for truffle, wine & art enthusiasts and is truly charming with its narrow cobbled streets, ancient walls, churches and 360-degree views of the Luberon vineyards stretching all the way out to Mount Ventoux. Ménerbes is also famous for Pablo Picasso’s house where his lover and artist Dora Maar, that lived there for 42 years.
Ménerbes is only a 5 minute ride by car from the hotel we stayed at La Bastide de Marie – if you are the active type, grab one of the white bikes available for the guests and cycle to the village. We came here to taste the best truffles of Provence and to visit the specially dedicated truffle museum. The Vaucluse area is the largest producer of trufﬂes in France and the market on the last Sunday of the year in Ménerbes is famous throughout the region!
After a short walk admiring the old buildings and the scenery, we arrived at our destination, Maison de la Truffe et du Vin du Luberon, or the House of Truffle and Wine. The house is set up in a beautiful 17th century mansion, overlooking the vineyards and dotted with contrasting old and modern art objects. This is place offers the full gastronomic & wine experience with its restaurant on-site, truffle museum, shop, wine bar and interactive training centers for professional and amateurs.
Being a truffle house, the menu is simple yet heavely focused on truffles from the Luberon area. The menu is seasonal but you only get the best truffles here! We went at the beginning of the season in October, which meant black truffle was the choice of the day. As we were making our difficult food decisions, we were presented a beautiful appetiser in the form of a puff pastry, cream and a large shaving of truffle on top. That was gone within a second, though the taste lingered for a long time. For our food, we went for the terrine of pork pâté (a local favourite in the south of France) with black melanosporum, nicely textured slices of terrine with real pieces of black truffles infused in the meat. My partner went for the house speciality, in the form of creamy scrambled egg with fresh slices of black melanosporum pieces served with a salad and toast. The dishes were delicious and not overpowering.
The food choices at Maison de la Truffe et du Vin are complemented by a much longer and varied wine list, over which we debated on what pairs best with our chosen dishes. We opted for a local Cotes de Luberon wines, a nice full bodied red which paired perfectly with the creamy egg and a rose for the pork terrine for something light yet complex.
Price-wise you always know that truffles aren’t cheap but they are bound to be cheaper at source. A 2-course menu costs €45 without wine, which i find very reasonable. And you get the view for free – they have a splendid garden with panoramic views of the area. Open daily from 12.30pm to 6pm and on Mondays and Thursdays in the evenings. Reservations recommended by phone: +33 4 90 72 38 37.
Truffle Museum & Workshops
At the Maison de Truffe et du Vin, you will find a specially dedicated room which comprises the truffle museum. Here you can learn about all the types of truffles, the tools used in the process of finding them and old books about these delicacies. Open all year round -1st April to 30th October, every day from 10am to 12pm and from 2.30pm to 6.30pm. The museum is free. Organised visits available for the rest of the year with reservation.
They also organise special exhibitions and workshops where professionals and amateurs can interact with truffles in the tasting laboratory which can be paired with wine tastings in parallel. During the truffle season from October to March it is possible to experience truffle digging, hunting and special lunch experiences in the area. All of these can be arranged for groups in advance.
In the shop you will find products based on truffles, fresh truffles during the season, wine, regional products and a bookstore. It is also possible to order truffles for express delivery .
Wine Bar & Cellar
The cellar at Maison de Truffe et du Vin offers a large selection of wines from the AOC Luberon and Ventoux appellations. Free wine tastings are available from April to October. The wine bar is perfect to enjoy a drink and light lunch in the garden in the summer season. Special guided wine tastings can be organised together with truffle & wine pairings.
Maison de la Truffe et du Vin du Luberon, Place de l’Horloge, 84560 Mènerbes. Tel: +33 4 90 72 3837.
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Written by: Tatiana Livesey, Winerist Co-founder.