Australian Grown French Black Truffles
Whilst many truffle varieties elude our cultivating nature, the most successful truffles grown in Australia are the same species as the famous Périgord ones cultivated in France (Tuber melanosporum). These black truffles have a long history in France, where they have set the benchmark of the world’s finest black truffles.
The first question, for those whom have never had the divine pleasure of smelling and tasting fresh Australian truffles, is “what do they taste/smell like”. I feel Gareth Renowden, explains it well as he states in The Truffle Book, “The aroma of T. melanosporum is musty and sweet, a very intense mushroom smell overlaid with other notes, especially what wine tasters call ‘forest floor’. Perhaps in my own words, truffles smell of a damp earthy mustiness that is strangely alluring.
The taste of the truffle would be 90% of this aroma, the remainder would best be described as “nutty”. However truffles being umami (see our article on “How We Taste” for an explaination of this) make them truly remarkable. It is the existence of glutamic acid, which makes them umami and a wonderful enhancer of flavours, which will improve any food lucky enough to be sharing a plate with them.
The golden rule with truffles is they must have the right combination of aroma, flavour and texture (firm and springy to the touch) to qualify as a delicacy. In my opinion the Australian Truffles are on par, if not better, in quality, taste and aroma than of those in Europe. This is now the opinion being shared amongst chefs and experts worldwide, and is reflected in the market price which is virtually equal to that of its French counterpart. With truffles being highly seasonal, requiring frosts to properly mature, the Australian Black Truffles are fast becoming the preferred choice for International chef’s to continue to deliver the delicacy well into the truffle counter-season in their own respective provenience . Arguably the only major difference between the Australian Périgord truffles from that of the original French Périgord, is that it is farmed, not foraged in the wild as they are in France.
Australian growers will see a much more mature crop in many regions in this 2014 season and are now also producing higher truffle yields per hectare than those of any other farms in the world. This year the Canberra and N.S.W Southern Highlands are producing some of Australia’s finest truffles to date, and with their exceptional aroma some are being considered to reach higher than market value. One such truffle was recently harvested in the region weighing in at 1.172kg just 128g shy of a world record size, but definitely an Australian record. The farmer Ted Smith had reportedly received interest in the record truffle from right across Australia and from one interested Asian buyer but decided he wanted to allow locals to savour it. He sold the truffle to Robin Murray of Bowral’s Centennial Vineyards Restaurant where it is sure to be enjoyed by many.
So in closing, I am so impressed with the quality, my winter menus will always proudly feature Australian Grown Truffles, not only for my own personal joy, but in hopes to educate some pallets, tantalise some taste buds and to share my passion with you all.
For further information on Australian Truffles and where to purchase them please Contact Us.