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The Black Truffle

The black truffle… one of the world’s most elusive foods. You may have tried them in a restaurant, but do you know what to do with them at home?

As the Australian winter truffle season comes into full swing, we asked our resident expert Damian ‘The Mushroom Man’ Pike to let us know more about the black truffle and get some inside info on them.

Firstly, when is best to buy them?

“The Tuber Melanosporum – The Black Truffle, or the ‘Black Diamond’ as it is sometimes known, is the only truffle grown in Australia in the winter. The season begins in mid-June and we have chosen to celebrate the season with our Truffle Celebration Day event on 8 July when there is an abundance of them and they are at their peak,” says Damian.

“They really are worth waiting for, too early and they have not matured enough and you do not get the depth of flavour you find in a perfect truffle.”

So are truffles only for the super rich? A luxury food that most of us can only dream about?

Absolutely not.

“One of the biggest myths around truffles is that they are not accessible to the average person. Of course, they are more expensive than the common mushroom varieties but you also use far less,” continues Damian.

“You can buy a Black Truffle for around $40 and that can either be used in a dinner for six people or you could do breakfast, lunch and dinner for yourself and a partner or friend.

“It is definitely a luxury item that you are unlikely to eat every day, but one that is accessible and should be enjoyed by everybody.”

How can you can use them?

The Black Truffle is the perfect warm, earthy flavour for winter.

They work perfectly with boiled eggs or as a stuffing inside the skin of a roast chicken. Try micro-planing them over asparagus or scattered over buttery risotto or creamy carbonara. You could even make your own truffle butter and melt over your favourite home-grilled steak or scallops.

If you’re after even more inspiration,  just ask Damian to show you his many cookbooks!

And for dessert – truffle ice cream…trust us.  It’s delicious.

The most common question that Damian is asked is “what do they taste like”?

“This is a difficult question to answer as everyone’s palette is different.  To me, the black truffle tastes of seafood – similar to crayfish.   However, to others,  it may be a more earthy, woody flavour that they taste. The interesting thing is that regardless of what flavour profile an individual tastes, everyone still agrees on what foods and dishes truffles work best with,” said Damian.

Are there any ‘buyer bewares’ with buying truffles?

“Ensure you buy from a reputable retailer. There are many truffle growers that are inexperienced and are not growing quality truffles. The best retailers work closely with their distributors to ensure quality and if you are going to indulge then you want to know that you are eating the very best. ”

And did you know that you can freeze truffles?

“Truffles keep perfectly in the freezer for 6-8 months. The key is to shave or grate them while they are still frozen. Not only do you get a better result but you can then pop the leftover truffle straight back into the freezer.”

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