Since 1997, everything The Chain Gang has done has been related to cycling. Obviously. It’s my passion, and it’s what we do.
So what is all this nonsense about truffles? Well, I don’t think it’s that much of a stretch. I’d like to do three things, if you’ll forgive:
1. Explain why I think it’s our next step.
2. Tell you what we plan to do.
3. Ask you whether I’m mental.
1. It’s Just Like When I started The Chain Gang.
In 1997 I set up The Chain Gang Cycle Tours Ltd, and although we now operate bike tours throughout France, Italy and the UK, our true home has always been the Dordogne.
Food and wine are very important on Chain Gang tours – part of our raison d’être – but when we’re in the Dordogne, the most highly prized delicacy of them all, the Périgord Truffle is denied to us.
These little black gems are only in season from December to February. I was intrigued about them for years, not least because of the outlandish prices they fetch. It wasn’t until 2010 that I finally had my first experience of the ‘Black Pearl of the Périgord’.
I went to the Dordogne to see what it looks like to an outsider. I loved it. So much so that I thought other people would love it too, and we could organise group events, have fun, and who knows, maybe we could make it pay.
That’s exactly how The Chain Gang got started, so it doesn’t feel all that different to me. It’s something unusual, we do it in groups, and if we’re not laughing out loud the whole weekend then shouldn’t have bothered!
2. What’s The Plan?
You’ll find full details of our itinerary here .
The plan is to spend a long weekend in Sarlat-la-Caneda immersing ourselves in the (suppposedly) murky world of truffles. While we’re there, we’ll learn to cook truffles, and we’ll have the chance to buy them at the Saturday market, we’ll hunt them at a special truffiere with Titeuf the truffle hound.
More importantly, we’ll enjoy two fabulous dinners at Les Quatres Saisons in Sarlat, as well as a wine-tasting of a fascinating selection of wines from the Dordogne Valley, from St Emilion to Monbazillac.
3. So, am I right or not?
I just love the idea of these little gems , their incredibly powerful smell, their beautiful taste, and all the mystique and hype that surrounds them. What fascinates me most is that most people know nothing about them – and what they do know is mostly wrong. And in 1 weekend we can change all that.