Manuel Vicent


The wheel of time is marked by the different types of food one eats during the year, so that taste becomes gradually attached to a calendar that is more precise than the differing degrees of light that open and close each season. Spring is Nature’s great celebration of winter. The sea provides sea urchins whilst the earth gives up its black truffles.

This mushroom, which grows near the roots of the evergreen oak or oak tree, needs a very wet autumn in order for the decomposed organic matter in the soil to accumulate within its midst that esoteric nodule, which one day caught the imagination of Medieval princes, and which lies today at the mercy of devotees, who are so enlightened that there are several truffle-tasting associations for the different varieties (violet, white or black).

As far as I’m concerned, I prefer winter truffles to come from Els Ports de Morella and to have been found by specially bred pigs or by dogs trained by master chefs, although I will eat truffles from anywhere providing they are freshly picked, natural and seasoned to charm the palate. A highly developed sense of smell is required to sniff out this treasure lying just below the surface, but once it appears on the surface, an excellent way to start the year is by eating it as if it were a sacrament, with your eyes closed and picturing the tables of princes from Provence. The essence of what is placed on one’s tongue is damp earth mixed among the roots of the evergreen oak and oak trees: it is that realm that touches the soul. Congratulations.