Spicers Homage Chef Ash Martin and his Chef de Partie Elliot were delighted to demonstrate two dishes at ‘Tartufo’ this year’s inaugural Truffle Festival at the Truffle Discovery Centre in Stanthorpe. The event saw 200 visitors and 60 diners enjoy the community themed festival with master chef demonstrations, music and food, tours and a chance to meet the extraordinary truffle hunting dogs who are trained to sniff out the luxury mushrooms from the earth around host trees. Thousands of dollars of French Black Périgord Truffles were consumed.
This rare, black truffle, now growing on one of the highest ridges at The Summit is an ingredient that is highly prized by chefs and gourmands for the incredibly rich aroma; evocative of the earth where they are born, the rains that give them life and other unfathomable mysteries. Their taste is complex yet delicate, hard to describe, many call it sublime. Périgord’s can be distinguished from other European black truffle varieties by the white marbling or veins running through the dark flesh.
The truffles fruit in late spring, grow during the summer and autumn and mature with the onset of winter when they are harvested with the help of dogs. They are often used fresh, fine shavings tumbling onto dishes like gold; or warmed when they contribute a sensual luxury.
With demand still growing around the world, Australia now has several truffle orchards, or Truffières around the country. The relatively new Discovery Centre in Stanthorpe is becoming a drawcard for food tourists as well as chefs seeking local supplies. Visitors are welcomed all year round and bookings can be made to see the dogs hunt out truffles on a specially prepared training ground where truffles have been buried. Truffles can be purchased fresh when available or in delicious truffle honey, truffle oil or truffle salt.
Ash and Eliot demonstrated two ways to use Black Périgord Truffles at the festival:
- Hay baked Quail with truffle, barley and sprouted seeds
- Dry aged beef tartare with truffle and the world’s best fries
Freshly inspired by a restaurant study and immersion tour in Denmark – home of the famed Noma, the two two-Michelin-star restaurant run by chef René Redzepi in Copenhagen – Ash no doubt will be bursting with new ideas for Homage at Spicers Hidden Vale.
Simple truffle secrets from the Truffle Discovery Centre:
- Truffle oil works magic with just a small drizzle in mashed potato.
- A spray of truffle oil will enhance many dishes including popcorn, salads, pasta and roast vegetables.
- Try adding a drizzle of truffle oil to soups, stock mixtures, stews, savoury pie fillings.
- Truffle oil can be sprayed on pizza as a finishing flavour or used in the crust mixture if you are making the base yourself.
- White truffle oil works especially well with roast meats especially chicken and duck.
- Garlic bread will never be the same again with white truffle oil added to the butter mixture.
- Truffle oil can be added to the cheese sauce of any recipe including truffled mac ‘n’ cheese!
- Try truffle infused honey over strong cheeses such as Blue, Brie and Smoked Cheddar.