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Truffles: Grown in South Australia?

The unique taste and texture of Truffles are usually only associated with European Trufferies… longer 

Fresh truffles are one of the most sought-after luxury ingredients found anywhere in the culinary world. Famously foraged in the north-west of Italy, in France and Croatia, these underground treasures have steadily started to appear from dedicated farms in Australia. First came Tasmania, then Western Australia and Victoria and now we are seeing a fresh flush of local South Australian truffles adorning our dinner plates. Barossa truffles? You bet!

The most recent season has been a good one and, much like wine, the black truffles that grow in South Australian orchards are influenced by the weather and the season. Growing below specially inoculated trees like oak and hazelnut, they flourish in cool, fertile soils and grow slowly throughout winter and into early spring.

The Adelaide Hills has an ideal climate and has become well-know for truffles in recent years, as well as a favourite hunting ground for pine mushrooms and porcini. There are truffles growing in Myponga and this year the first harvest of fresh truffles from the Barossa’s cooler, elevated country was made. Get used to seeing fresh truffles on Adelaide’s best city and South Australia’s best regional restaurant menus, as chefs rush to buy and serve these precious treasures of the earth.

They ripen in the ground and must be harvested when their savoury, earthy fragrance is at its optimum intensity and ripeness. Specially-trained dogs have superseded pigs as the preferred detection method and, once located, each truffle is carefully dug from the ground, cleaned and preserved for sale and serving.

Sizes vary from as small as a marble to as large as a tennis ball, but the preferred size and the size that usually represents the finest quality is similar to a golf ball. Once cleaned they are often stored in arborio rice which becomes infused with the scent and flavour and will make a delicious risotto. Fresh eggs can be placed in the rice and their porous shells will also absorb the urgent savoury truffle flavours.

They are most often shaved atop pasta, risotto, roasted meats and, well, anything you like really. Pieces of truffle can also be cooked into sauces to enrich and complex their flavours. But the most exquisite way to eat truffles is at breakfast. Shave fresh truffles onto your scrambled eggs, omelettes or eggs cooked any way you like. It is decadently simple and a great start to the day. Did somebody say Champagne?

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