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Australian Black Winter Truffle
Inventory, lb : 0
The Australian Winter truffle is roughly rounded, its shape's definition molded by stones in the soil where it has grown. Its surface coloring ranges from dark brown to black. The truffle's skin is textured with polygonal, slightly raised spines. The flesh is jet black at maturity with white veins creating intricate patterns throughout. What truly defines the Perigord truffle is its intoxicating aroma and flavor. The aroma is robust, perfumed with essences of nuts, earth and garlic. The flavor is equally rich, a bouquet of savory and sweet with notes of hazelnuts, mint and forest mushrooms.
Australian Black Winter truffles are available during the Southern Hemisphere's winter months, which coincides with the Northern Hemisphere's summer months.
The Australian Black Winter truffle, Tuber melanosporum, is identical to the most famous Black truffle, the Perigord truffle. Its given name a mere reflection of its growing region. Limited production and high demand create soaring prices for the Australian Black Winter truffle, the only Black Winter truffle available during the months of May through Septmenber.
Australian Black Winter truffles are intensely flavored, thus they can cooked briefly or low and slow. They can be shaved fresh as a finishing element or infused into sauces to add depth. The volatile compounds that release truffles' distinct aroma are compromised when overcooked, but fats can capture and encapsulate those aromas. Classic pairings are rich foods such as meat, cheese and eggs. Australian Black Winter truffles compliment lobster, caviar, fois gras, pasta, cream sauces, garlic, shallots, mascarpone, aged hard cheeses, citrus and herbs such as tarragon, basil and arugula. Fresh Australian Black Winter truffles can be folded into butter to create a compound, which can be refrigerated for up to three months. As truffles are a living fruiting body they need to breath and sweat. They can lose up to 3% of their weight daily. Hence, they are best used within three days of harvest. Truffles will keep, though, stored in rice and tightly sealed, for seven to ten days.
Perigord Black truffle spores were taken from France and successfully transplanted in the Southern Hemisphere in New Zealand in 1987. Although they are not native to the region, innoculation of truffles in oak and hazelnut trees, the cultivation of truffle producing landscapes and natural environmental conditions allowed for truffle fruiting and the creation of truffières. A very small amount of Perigord truffles were found in a truffière in July 1993. In April 1997, large numbers of immature Périgord Black truffles began to form and by May mature truffles were being harvested. Since the successful production of Perigord truffles, mycologist, Ian Hall and his research team, introduced two new species of truffle, the Burgundy truffle,T. uncinatum, (a Black summer truffle) and the Bianchetto, T. borchii, (an Italian White truffle) into New Zealand truffières in 2001. The optimum conditions for establishing a truffière are warm summers and cool winters, naturally acidic soils, irrigation water and the absence of other trees that may have competing fungi on their roots.