Truffles are a product that seems to either inspire extreme passion: lovers of truffles spend 9 months of the year salivating at just the thought of the month of June arriving and the next 10-12 weeks of this highly aromatic little bundle being in season. Or indeed one might scratch their head in wonder as to what all of the hype is about – this little brown pungent fungi. I fall into the first category as I adore this weird little addition to my meal.
According to www.truffleharvest.com.au ‘A truffle is the highly aromatic, subterranean, fruit of a fungi growing on the roots of specific host trees.’ Dogs are trained and used in the hunt for truffles a good truffle dog can fetch thousands of Euros in France and Italy.
Commercially grown truffles in Australia is fairly recent and not an easy task, not all growers actually produce truffles, as with all produce it comes down to the weather, soil and nutrients being exactly right and truffles are more particular then most produce. Hence the seemingly slightly hefty price one needs to pay if you are to enjoy truffley delights.
Personally I purchase truffles a couple of times in a season and I see the price as less then if I was to go out to a decent restaurant for a meal (not a truffle meal). 10 grams of truffle is more then enough per person, Im obviously a little greedy as some experts suggest 6-8 grams per person. But hey its only a couple of times in a year that Im so extravagant so whats a couple of ounces? Truffles this season are around $2.50 AU per gram. If my maths are correct $25.00 is a very abundant serve. Not only do you have the truffle to serve but by placing it in an airtight jar with eggs for a few days you will also have fabulously infused eggs. Really its more then one meal, I’ve justified the expense already!
If you have a local supplier do make sure they know what they are talking about as the difference between a good truffle and one of less quality can mean the difference in you beaming a life long connoisseur or a disbeliever.
Fortunately for me I have a number of options during truffle season, all are experts in their field, I don’t have to go far to source my treat.There are also a number of online providers. Generally I will visit my local farmers market: Veg out St Kilda or Gas Works Albert park, and have a chat with the lovely folk from Black Truffle Harvest, I’ve not been let down yet with their advise on storage and consuming my treat.
My suggestions for serving are not really recipes as I simply shave thinly the truffle over my dish.
Scrambled eggs made from your infused eggs (using a dash of cream adds to the decadence). Shave your truffle generously over the finished eggs to serve.
Pasta, freshly made pasta is best, once cooked in boiling water, I simply stir through a decent knob of butter and again shave truffle (do I need to say be generous) before serving.
Rissotto, truffle added to a mushroom risotto.
Roast chicken, place butter and shaved truffle under the skin of the chicken and roast as you normally would, serve with veggies and mashed potato and yes, add some truffle to your mash and a dribble of truffle oil over the veggies and mash too. This will take your meal to a whole new level.
How simple is that? I warn you, you just might find yourself a little addicted to this seasonal wonder.
To keep my cravings under control throughout the year I always have truffle oil and salt in the pantry. I particularly like the oil in a mushroom risotto, or a splash on your pizza. The opportunities are only limited by our imagination. As always ensure your oil is fresh and from a reputable producer/supplier and you will have many meals of:
“Deliciously intoxicating dining” (Black Truffle Harvest).