Larder Extras Guaranteed to Delight your Tastebuds
Gabriel Machin’s is the first choice for many top chefs and food writers. It isn’t just the quality meat, game and seafood that has established our enviable reputation but also our top quality larder ingredients. We devote much time and effort into finding those extra ingredients that inspire both celebrity chefs and home cooks alike.
We believe in the importance of sourcing local foodstuffs such as honey, eggs, butter and flour. Mapledurham Flour Mill, for example, produces the most incredible organic wholemeal flour as well as dog biscuits made from the leftover products from the milling process. Truly sustainable! Buying locally is our lifeblood but we’re also passionate about offering quality ingredients and dishes from across the world to meet the needs of our well-travelled customers.
That’s why we stock authentic French Cassoulet, the delicious French white bean stew made from Toulouse sausages and haricot beans. We also sell Perard’s legendary fish, crab and lobster soups shipped in from the upmarket French coastal resort Le Touquet (Paris by the sea). From the heart of Italy, we buy the freshest cold pressed virgin olive oils that make perfect gifts or luxurious treats for your own larder. Like you, we know that such products have a reputation for quality that is hard for rivals to replicate.
Sauces and spices for authentic Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese dishes; goose eggs, quails’ eggs or local quality free range hens’ eggs; spicy Spanish chorizos and Italian salamis; truffle oils, flavoured oils and goose fat – all of these and more are sold at Machin’s . Quality and convenience under one roof. It’s little wonder so many of our customers travel from afar and treat us as a destination food shop. They’ve even described us as grownups’ sweetshop!
The identity card of truffles
What are truffles?
Truffles are fungi, which grow underground, close to trees or bushes with which they live in symbiosis, exchanging certain essential nutritional substances. There are more than twenty varieties of truffle in Italy but only a few are edible and have commercial significance.
Where to find them?
The presence of truffles is connected with those species of trees and bushes which are commonly found in Tuscany, such as oak trees, poplars, willows, lindens, pines, hazelnuts and cistus trees and inside woods, either isolated plants or in rows. However each truffle has its own specific area of growth. In general, the most valuable truffles are also the rarest. Because of the varied types of environment in Tuscany, all types of edible truffles may be found there, from the most prized ones to the so-called “lesser” varieties. Truffles are picked with the aid of a specially trained dog.
Fresh truffles may be stored for a rather short time (one or two weeks at most)
For example, by wrapping them one by one in porous paper (to be replaced every so often) and putting them in glass jars in the fridge.
How to enjoy them
The truffle is one of the best condiments, which can be used in the kitchen. It is advisable to use it fresh. When fully ripe it best displays its qualities. Each variety of truffles has its own particular, typical aroma, which is suitable for specific culinary uses.
Truffle prices may vary a great deal from year to year, due to the seasonal nature of production. As a general rule, this mainly depends on climatic conditions such as rainfall; summer temperatures etc. which can cause price variations even during the production season itself. On the domestic and international market the most important truffles are prized varieties, for which as a rule demand exceeds availability of the product. In recent years the lesser varieties are also becoming more important such as the Marzuolo the Scorzone and the Uncinato.
The precious white truffle (Tuber magnatum Pico)
Ripening period: from September to December.
The whitish truffle (Tubor borchii Vitt) also known as “Marzuolo” truffle
Ripening period: from January to April.
The precious black truffle (Tuber melanosporum Vitt)
Ripening period: from November to March.
The winter black truffle (Tuber brumale Vitt) also known as “Brumale” truffle
Ripening period: from January to March.
The summer black truffle (Tuber aestivum Vitt) also known as the “Scorzone truffle
Ripening period: from June to November.
The black truffle (Tuber uncinatum Chatin)
Ripening period: from October to December.
The precious white truffle
This is the most valuable variety with the largest diffusion in the region. It boasts a picking tradition, which is not inferior to that of the more renowned regions. It is found in certain areas of the north- eastern Appenines (the areas of Mugello, Casentino and the Val Tiberina) and in the fairly large central hilly area which extends from the lower Valdarno up to the border with Lazio (San Casciano dei Bagni). This area includes the lower Valdarno, the Valdera, the Volterrano, the Chianti hills, the Valdelsa, the Val d’Arbia,
Crete Senesi, part of the Val di Chiana and the Val di Paglia.
The area’s where truffles are found coincide with very special environments, with characteristics able to guarantee this valuable fungus the presence of symbiotic plants and damp, soft clayey earth. For example, the precious white truffle may be found in woods at the bottom of the valley, in woods close to rivers and streams, on poplars, willows, hazelnuts or on oak trees closed to the cultivated area’s or at the edges of meadows.
Protection and valorization
REGIONAL LAW ON TRUFFLES
In Tuscany the truffles industry is regulated by a special law the Regional Law of 11th April 1995 no.50 (and subsequent amendments). The legislation governs the picking, cultivating, conserving and selling truffles in order to safeguard and preserve this important product.
In particular the law establishes that:
- Only nine species of truffles may be picked and sold
- Picking may only be carried out at the times permitted by the regional calendar; sale of fresh truffles is permitted during the periods included in the regional picking calendar and in the week immediately following the end of picking;
- A special authorisation card is required to be able to pick truffles;
- The search for truffles must be carried out with the help of a suitably trained dog and digging must be performed with the appropriate tool (the “vanghetto”, fitted with a cutting blade on a short handle).
Precious white truffle (Tuber magnatum Pico) 10 September – 31 December.
Precious black truffle (Tuber melanosporum Vitt) 15 November – 15 March.
Musky truffle (Tuber brumale Vitt.var.moschatum De Ferry) 15 November – 15 March.
Summer black truffle (Tuber aestivum Vitt) 1 June – 30 November.
Black truffle (Tuber uncinatum Chatin) 1 October – 31 December.
Winter black truffle (Tuber brumale Vitt) 1 January – 15 March.
Whitish truffle (Tubor borchii Vitt) 10 January – 30 April.
Smooth black truffle (Tuber macrosporum Vitt) * 1 September – 31 December
Strong black truffle (Tuber mesentericum Vitt) * 1 September – 31 January
* Truffle varieties not described in the details because only found sporadically in Tuscany
‘It’s a very well stocked shop and the staff know what they’re talking about. You can get really good advice from them. We’ve been selling our sauces and dressings there for many years.’Mary Berry