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Truffle season is here

Thursday 25th June 2015

Regardless of how much exposure one’s had to it, black local truffle is one of those evocative ingredients that elicits “oohs and aahs” from diners and chefs alike.

Even though the local truffle trade is reasonably new to Australian shores, the local stuff (coming mostly from the Manjimup region of WA, Canberra, Tasmania and Victoria) is quickly garnering international attention for its intense and consistent flavour.

If you’ve not had much to do with truffles, boy are you in for a treat!

Contrary to popular belief about the taste, it’s actually the aroma of the truffle that gives it its acclaim-Damian Pike describes it as “when the tide’s out at St Kilda”.

To me, the smell and taste of truffle is like a forest mushroom on steroids. Full of earthy, savouriness that offers depth to a dish rarely seen with very little effort – simply shave and go!

Store your truffle in paper towel in the fridge and try to use within a couple of days. You can also store it in rice or with eggs to infuse these with the aroma of truffle.

If you have offcuts, whizz these up and pop them in salt to create your very own truffle salt – or, whip through butter for your own version of that.

Experienced truffle merchants (like our own Mr Pike) have got the yield down to a fine art – just tell him how many you’re feeding and he’ll give you a perfectly sized specimen than won’t break the bank. Expect to be paying about $2-$3 per gram at this time of year, with a family of four feasting happily with one that’s about 8-10g.

Luckily the best way to serve truffle is with the simplest of dishes – which means that the rest of the ingredients are relatively inexpensive and accessible. Fat and carbs are a truffle’s best friend; think pasta, eggs, bread, butter, cream.

If you’re looking for something a little more fun to do with your fungus, give these truffle dishes from some of Melbourne’s top chefs a whirl.

Local Truffle Recipes:

Salted Barramundi w coconut dashi, shaved truffle
Salted Barramundi w coconut dashi, shaved truffle recipe
Smoked Ham Hock, soft egg, fregola & truffle
Smoked Ham Hock, soft egg, fregola & truffle recipe
Caramelised onion and Prosciutto tart
Caramelised onion and Prosciutto tart recipe

 

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