Are truffles merely an aphrodisiac? Estée Lauder’s new proposition reveals there is so much more to the exquisite French delicacy. By Li Ying Lim.
As first daylight breaks through the horizon, a man wrapped in full winter gear walks the vast plains with a dog in tow and a cavadou (truffle hook) in hand. His every breath, crystallised into a cloud clearly visible in the ice-cold air, blends thick and fast into the morning fog. The dog roams free, casting its inquisitive nose against the roots of the trees. His owner follows, as keen and eager to uncover the earth near the boughs of hazelnut and oak trees, while the dog narrows its search. The truffle farmer continues to dig deeper with his cavadou until he finally reaches the roots, where a distinct aroma starts to grow more pungent; where his treasure – the black diamond truffle – lies.
Now, these are not just any truffles. “Extra Class” superior black diamond truffles must have reached their maturation period before making the cut – the truffle farmer knows this with just one glance at the marble-like black and white heart. Packaged and sealed to retain its nutrients, the truffles are then transported to Cannes, France, and then after a nine-step extraction process, to Estée Lauder’s headquarters in New York. Every 10 to 15 kilogrammes of black diamond truffles can give only one kilogramme of pure extract. Decadent and rare, this remarkable ingredient used in Estée Lauder’s Re-Nutriv line is only available for cultivation from December to March.
Refined 24-karat gold to help the skin glow
On the hunt
Southwest region of France, home to some of the finest truffles