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The black diamond

Black truffles are a rare, mysterious and expensive delicacy. Lesley Chamberlain visits the truffle's home ground in Provence and discovers that hunting it is better than eating it

The black truffle is one of nature’s darkest secrets-its existence pitched uncertainly between life and death. Ambivalent, malevolent, it inspires operatic passions. Men fight over it, dogs tremble, truffle flies are reduced to a clumsy hopping in its vicinity. Cult members wear black cloaks and swear lifelong allegiance to the mystery. This is why a perishable, walnut-sized nugget of tuber melanosporum in London costs ?50 -and why adding a nought to that figure, to visit the truffle’s home ground in Provence, is even better than eating it.

Jean-Marie Rocchia is a dentist from the Var region of Provence. Like his…

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