A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from December 07, 2014
Black Diamond (black truffle nickname)

Truffles—especially black truffles such as Périgord truffles—have been dubbed “black diamonds.” French epicure Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826) supposedly called black truffles ”les diamants noirs de la cuisine“ in his book The Physiology of Taste (1825), but an 1854 translation reads, “the truffle is the diamond of the kitchen.”

“The truffles, those black diamonds of the epicure, are the pick of Perigueux” was cited in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine in 1847.


Wikipedia: Tuber melanosporum
Tuber melanosporum, called the black truffle, Périgord truffle or French black truffle is a species of truffle native to Southern Europe. It is one of the most expensive edible mushrooms in the world.

Wikipedia: Périgord
The Périgord (Occitan: Peiregòrd / Perigòrd) is a natural region and former province of France, which corresponds roughly to the current Dordogne département, now forming the northern part of the Aquitaine région. It is divided into four areas called the Périgord Noir (Black), the Périgord Blanc (White), the Périgord Vert (Green) and the Périgord Pourpre (Purple). The geography and natural resources of Périgord make it a beautiful, unspoiled region rich in history and wildlife, and the newly created Parc Naturel Régional Périgord-Limousin aims to conserve it as such.

Périgord is noted for its cuisine, especially its duck and goose products, such as confit de canard and foie gras. It is known as a centre for truffles in France.

Google Books
The Physiology of Taste:
Or, Transcendental Gastronomy

By Brillat-Savarin
Translated by the last Paris edition by Fayette Robinson
Philadelphia: Lindsey & Blakiston
1854 (Originally published in France in 1825.—ed.)
Pg. 126:
A sauté of truffles is a dish the honors of which the mistress of the house reserves to herself; in fine, the truffle is the diamond of the kitchen.

Google Books
February 1847, Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, pg. 177, col. 2:
The potage à la bisque is irreproachable; the truffles, those black diamonds of the epicure, are the pick of Perigueux; ...

Google Books
The Tasting Spoon:
How to use over 130 spices, herbs, condiments, flavorings, to enhance all your dishes and add zest to any menu

By Loris Troup
New York, NY: Citadel Press
1955
Pg. 229:
Brillat-Savarin called Truffles “Black diamonds of the haute cuisine.”

Google Books
Réalités
Issues 266-271
1973
Pg. ?:
Truffles turn up everywhere, and during one of my visits to the restaurant an eighteen-pound box of them arrived fresh and complete with their dirt from the Perigord, a fortune in “black diamonds.”

Google Books
The Book of France
By John Ardagh
Secaucus, NJ: Chartwell Books
1980
Pg. 198:
Truffles
In Perigord, there are also the best truffles in France. Sometimes called ‘black diamonds’, these subterranean members of the mushroom family grow on the roots ol certain trees, especially the oak, from which they are sniffed out by specially trained dogs or pigs.

OCLC WorldCat record
The most beautiful villages of the Dordogne
Author: James Bentley; Hugh Palmer
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Thames and Hudson, ©1996.
Edition/Format: Book : English
Database: WorldCat
Summary:
Four colors - green, white, black and purple - designate the four regions of the Dordogne, and symbolize the rich diversity of this magical region, often known by its more strictly French name as “the Perigord.” Green evokes the lush vegetation of the northern crescent, white the limestone valleys of the central region, black the truffles of the south-east - the famous “black diamonds” of classic French cuisine -

OCLC WorldCat record
The black diamonds of Provence
Author: Rob Waring; National Geographic Society (U.S.)
Publisher: London : Heinle, ©2009.
Series: Footprint reading Library., B2, Upper-Intermediate., Fascinating places.
Edition/Format: Kit Visual material : English

OCLC WorldCat record
The hunt for black diamonds: British truffles are back, and they’re big business. Georgiana Campbell reports on the gold rush from a top-secret location
Publisher: [London : S.n, 1901-
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication: Country life. 206, no. 41, (October 10, 2012): 58-61
Database: ArticleFirst

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Sunday, December 07, 2014 • Permalink