You can have the foie gras. And, while you’re at it, take the Sevruga, the shark’s fin and the Champagne Salon. If you touch my truffle, though, I’m going to call the fungus police. I’d sell my grandmother to taste a Tuber Melanosporum.
From June until September, these exquisite ‘shrooms are harvested in Australia. Tasmania has the distinction of being the first state to successfully inoculate trees to produce the earthy taste of heaven-on-earth. Truffle hunts take place until the first week of September and are by appointment with Truffles Australis.
In 2005, the first Victorian truffle was found in the Yarra Valley by a dog called Pickles. If you’re a true fungus fan like Pickles, mark the first weekend in July as the annual date of the Victorian Truffle Festival. Many Melbourne restaurants serve the delicacy throughout the season; Vue de Monde and Grossi Florentino among those I’d crawl over shards of champagne glass again to savour. Grossi and Bennet both know how to treat this fragile, friable treat: simply and with honour.
Please also note, Philippe Mouchel’s joint PM24 pays homage whenever it can.
In Sydney, Tetsuya treats the noble fungus beautifully as does Bilson’s and Buon Ricardo. To see the real thing outside of an omelette, head down the Hume to the ACT and surrounds for Truffle Festival events that shower like delicate spores throughout August.
If you’re fortunate enough to eat the fungus this season, look out for the provenance Manjimup. WA is emerging as a contender on the umami stage.
And, while you’re eating, spare a thought for me and my last, few, sad drops of truffle-infused oil.