Noses up! Here’s how to store and use truffles during the truffle season in Australia which starts in June. The ground temp needs to reach 12°c for truffles to ripen and that is what will set the start of the season. You don’t have to be a chef to enjoy truffles. They can be used by everyone. Try them shaved on hot buttered, thick crusty bread smeared with honey or baked in a goey brie. However, first you need to know where to buy truffles so I’d like to introduce you to The Truffle Man.
Buying truffles in Australia
It is easy to be seduced by the bounty from the Australian truffle season as the earth reveals its black gold to add fantastic flavour to your food. My go-to for truffles is The Truffle Man who will deliver them to your door, but did you know that the truffle man is actually a lady? To mark the start of the Australian truffle season, I had a chat with Amanda Reboul, also known as The Bubble Diva, who is the woman behind The Truffle Man! What a job she has combining two of the world’s great sensory experiences.
How did you get to be The Truffle Man?
My main work is running the Truffle Man business, and I have been doing that for 10 years. It all developed from a passion for truffles, cooking and authentic food! I still have a penchant for champagne, of course!
Why does the truffle buying season in Australia start in June?
Truffles are a winter mushroom, so the December to March European season is June to August here. Other truffles are ripening in different seasons like the white truffle in Autumn and the black summer truffle, but the real black truffle Tuber Melanosporum comes out at the start of winter! The life cycle of a truffle is a full year, so truffles that are left in the ground from previous harvests create new spores which in turn grow into ’Trufflettes’ then full-sized truffles over the course of the year.
Where do truffles grow in Australia?
Truffles now grow in Western Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales. There are even a few small plantations in Queensland’s Granite Belt. It’s the same truffle everywhere, although when you handle a lot of them, you can pick slight differences in terroir.
We have a soft spot for Western Australia. It is the largest producing region in Australia, and the quality is excellent.
What about Granite Belt truffles, and how do they compare?
We haven’t had real direct contact with Queensland producers as we understood they wanted to stay discrete in the early stages of their truffieres (land planted with trees inoculated with truffles spores which take five years or quite a few more sometimes before producing any truffles). I am sure their truffles are delicious as well. It’s the same truffle as grown anywhere else, so no reason to be really different. The same thing with most fruits or veggies, if you manage to gather the right conditions (climate, soil, cultivation techniques) to grow them, then they will be somewhat similar. From what we understand, they are not producing enough for large commercial sales during the Australian truffle season and are supplying very locally.
You can find out more about Stanthorpe truffles at the Truffle Discovery Centre on the Granite Belt or at The Folly Truffles in Ballandean, Queensland’s first commercial truffle farm. The farm is open for pre-booked tours and weekend truffle hunts.
The Folly Truffles tour with Maple Egerton and Barry IMAGE Kerry Heaney
What’s the best way to store truffles?
Store truffles wrapped in a kitchen paper towel, in an airtight container in your fridge. Change the paper every two to three days as it becomes damp. I never keep truffles in rice as it dries them way too much and too quickly and the flavour taken by the rice mostly disappears when you cook the rice. Sometimes I store truffles together with eggs, again in a sealed container in the fridge. In three days the eggs take the flavour. It will keep it through cooking if you make soft boiled or scrambled eggs as the temperature is not too high. Truffle aromas are very delicate, and you lose them if you cook them for too long or at too high a temperature.
What’s your preferred way to eat truffles?
That’s a tough one! How much time do I have? Fresh truffle sliced on a warm fresh or toasted slice of sourdough with salted butter is beautifully simple.
- Slow-cooked scrambled eggs with truffles is a great classic. (Here is a great recipe for truffled scrambled eggs from gun chef Danielle Dixon. Make sure you put your truffles with the very best eggs. Here’s where to find them.)
- Scallops in truffle cream sauce are amazing.
- Truffle sliced on top of a nice medium rare (wagyu) fillet.
- We even make truffle ice cream for special occasions!
There are just too many ways to choose from!
How much does a truffle in Australia cost?
The retail price of a truffle is around $2800/ per kilo. That sounds like a lot, but a 50g truffle, which is about the size of a golf ball, costs $140. It’s like saffron. The kilo is very expensive, but people buy a few grams.
Where can people buy truffles in Australia?
You can purchase truffles from good delicatessens during the truffle season or from The Truffle Man and have them delivered to your door.
Disclaimer: Ed+bK was gifted a truffle.