Get ready to embark on a truffle adventure as we unveil everything you need to know about buying truffles in Australia.
Indulging in the luxurious flavors of truffles may seem like a privilege reserved for the wealthy, with price tags soaring up to $3000 per kilo. However, Maple Edgerton, the mastermind behind The Folly Truffles in Australia’s Granite Belt, reveals that you don’t have to be a millionaire to savour these exquisite delicacies. Whether you’re dreaming of sprinkling a small amount of truffle over pasta, shaving it onto hot buttered bread with a drizzle of honey, or even baking it into a creamy brie, prepare yourself for an unparalleled taste sensation.
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. I had a chat with Maple Edgerton. Maple runs her family’s truffle farm, The Folly Truffles, on Queensland’s Granite Belt and is also the state representative for the Australian Truffle Industry Association. She represents Queensland’s truffle growers and presents an industry snapshot each year at the national conference. The Association is working on a Code of Best Practice to align growers nationally on everything related to growing and selling truffles. Maple also provides advice for truffle growers throughout Queensland.
Maple’s tips on buying, storing and cooking with truffles are below. Watch the video for a look around their Granite Belt farm and see how they make truffle pasta. It’s so delicious.
Why does the truffle buying season in Australia start in June?
Black winter truffles, as their name suggests, ripen in winter. In Eastern states, this is mid-late June, depending on climatic conditions. The truffle needs the cold and frosts to ripen and become dark and aromatic. Some truffles will ripen before this, but generally, the season is considered to start then.
Other truffles, like the white truffle in Autumn and the black summer truffle, ripen in different seasons. 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’ and then full-sized truffles over the course of the year.
Truffles are a winter mushroom, so the European season is December to March.
Where do truffles grow in Australia?
Truffles grow in all states except the Northern Territory. The first inoculated trees were planted in Tasmania in 1993. Australia’s first black truffle was harvested in 1999. South Australia’s industry is the youngest. It’s the same truffle everywhere, although when you handle a lot of them, you can pick slight differences in terroir.
The Folly Truffles in Ballandean, Queensland’s first commercial truffle farm. This Granite Belt truffle farm is open for pre-booked tours and weekend hunts.
The Folly Truffles tour with Maple Egerton and Barry IMAGE Kerry Heaney
What’s the best way to store truffles?
Truffles need to be wrapped in a paper towel and stored in an air-tight container in the fridge unless you want everything else in the fridge to taste/smell like truffle! The paper towel needs to be replaced daily, as the truffle loses moisture. The truffle can be stored with eggs as they are porous and will take on the flavour and aroma of the truffle.
Truffles are not suitable for freezing as when it thaws, it will become mushy. It also loses much of its aromatic properties when frozen. Excess truffle is suitable to be grated into butter, and this can be frozen. The butter protects the truffle, and much of its flavour and aroma is able to be maintained. Frozen truffle butter, if stored correctly, can be frozen for up to 12 months, but it’s unlikely you’ll have it in there for that long!
You can store truffles with eggs 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?
Keep it simple, as you want to be able to savour that taste. Truffle pairs beautifully with eggs, cheese and butter, so a simple pasta dish or a plain cheese pizza can be amplified with the addition of truffles. There is a simple five-ingredient pasta that I base my Taste of Truffle tour pasta on our website.
Other ways to try truffle –
- Slow-cooked scrambled eggs with truffles is a great classic. (Try this recipe for Truffled Scrambled Eggs from gun chef Danielle Dixon.
- Scallops in truffle cream sauce are amazing.
- Truffle sliced on top of a nice medium rare (wagyu) fillet.
- Truffle Ice Cream
How much does a truffle in Australia cost?
Retail prices are between $2500 to $3000 per kilo. Generally, pricing for a truffle (or off-cut) is on a per-gram basis ($2.50-$3.00), and the average consumer will usually buy between 20-50 grams.
Where can people buy truffles in Australia?
Truffles, mainly from Western Australia, are appearing in greater numbers each season in greengrocers around the country. In Australia’s Southern States, local producers may take their truffles to produce markets. Queensland truffles can be sourced from the farm gate (if available and by appointment) or on menus in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Toowoomba and Stanthorpe.
Thanks, Maple, for sharing your truffle knowledge. If you’d like to visit the farm to meet Maple and Barry the truffle dog and taste truffle pasta just book a tour!