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Posts tagged ‘winter truffles’

Christmas in July: Black Winter Truffles

A truffle is an irregular, round-shaped fruiting body of fungi, which grows underground in a symbiotic and mysterious relationship with the roots of trees. On average, truffles vary in size from a walnut to a golf ball, but there are sometimes exceptional truffles that can weigh a pound or more.

Tuber melanosporum, the black winter truffle

Tuber melanosporum, the black winter truffle

Tuber melanosporum is often called the black “Perigord” truffle, after the legendary truffles of that region of France. But black truffles are also found during the winter months in several parts of the Northern Hemisphere, including Italy and Spain. The black winter truffle drives people wild—it has dark, robustly-veined flesh that appears almost black-purple, and has the strongest flavor and aroma of all the black truffles.

Seasonality, the difficulty of locating the truffles, and erratic weather conditions all impact the cost of truffles, making them one of the most costly ingredients in kitchens around the world.

Remarkably, even miraculously, the black winter truffle has finally been cultivated in the Southern Hemisphere. With acidic soil, cool winters and warm summers, Australia offers conditions ideal for growing truffles, at least in the identified microclimate in Western Australia where we have found a  successful truffière.

This is the holy grail of truffles.

The truffières were amply planted with oak and hazelnut trees whose roots were inoculated with truffle spores. The years of patience have been rewarded; they are now harvesting black truffles in their winter season, which is June through August. These trees are producing a steady supply of quality black winter truffles, which are located in the traditional manner, with truffle-sniffing dogs.

We are pleased to say that the Australian truffles are just as impressive as their European counterparts. It’s like Christmas in July for truffle fans, who can celebrate the extension of the season.  One way of doing that is to make Tournedos Rossini.

Recipe_Tournedos_Rossini_HomeMedium

Tournedos Rossini with Australian Black Winter Truffles

 

D’Artagnan for dessert: Black Truffle Ice Cream with Truffle Honey Florentines

It’s no secret, we love to eat. And while 99% of the time you’ll find us posting about our various, in-office meaty adventures, we also make time to enjoy the sweeter treats in life. So last week, when there was a rogue truffle floating around the D’Artagnan kitchen, we put it to good use by mixing up a batch of Black Truffle Ice Cream.

While sweet fungus-studded ice cream may sound strange to some – it was absolutely delicious. The earthy truffle aroma was subtle and nicely balanced by bourbon vanilla. We started with the best vanilla ice cream recipe we know of, David Lebovitz‘s version from his brilliant book, The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments. (If you have an ice cream maker and don’t have this book – run, run, run out and get it – it’s the only one you’ll ever need!) David’s recipe starts with a traditional French custard, to which we added a couple of extra yolks. (You could actually substitute duck eggs for an even richer custard – next time!) We added a splash of the aperitif, Lacheze Liqueur a la Truffe, a holiday gift from Chef David Malbequi. We crowned the finished glace with crisp, truffle honey Florentine cookies which we adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cookies book. Very, very good and super easy. Recipe is after the jump… Read more

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