We may only have one more month left of truffle season, but here’s why it’s one of the most celebrated seasons on a chef’s calendar.
Love em’ or hate em’ truffles are one of the most excitable ingredients that chefs can get their hands on when they’re in season. Typically, truffle season in Australia runs from June through September, which is what makes this delicacy the most sought-after winter treat. You’ll often find them featured on the menus of some of your favourite restaurants come this time. We speak to two of our truffle-loving chefs about what makes this delicacy one of the most exciting seasons on their calendar.
Celebrating the season
Even though the season is short-lived, any chef worth their weight in truffles will tell you that this is what is part of the appeal. “Some people will attempt to sell frozen truffles out of season, which I highly recommend you don’t purchase,” says Cucina Vivo’s Chef de Cuisine Dayan Hartill-Law. “The global market has almost got a full year of supply with France, Italy and Australia producing for around 9 months of the year, but the fondness is definitely the knowledge of knowing that its rare and the seasons don’t last forever so having the treat of truffle once a year keeps the romance alive.”
Sokyo’s Executive Chef Chase Kojima agrees with Dayan. “You can buy truffles out of season but will not be anywhere near the fresh product,” he says. “You can buy frozen or powder form but it’s usually fake truffle essence are added and it’s really not the really taste or smell. I don’t recommend it. I say enjoy while it last. And then after the season ends, wait for next season.”
There’s no guarantees
The truffle season can also be affected by the weather and farmers ability to harvest the truffles. So, some seasons can produce less truffles than the previous. There are no guarantees when it comes to truffles. Its unpredictability adds to its allure and rarity.
“The reality is that it’s difficult to produce truffles and it’s something that requires years if not decades to perfect and it requires some pretty specific conditions and some pretty specific weather to make them happen,” says Dayan. “Then just not knowing if you’re successful or not until you dig them up. This for me is the true measure of the truffles worth, the years of dedication that goes into making them grown perfectly and to be full of aroma.”
Cooking with truffles
Truffles can add bursts of flavour to any dish, especially a protein reckons Chase. “The shaving of a fresh black truffle cannot be replicated by anything else,” says Chase. “The oaky, nutty and sweet aromas of truffle paired with the explosion of flavour when eating it is very unique. The addition of truffles can turn the simplest dish into the most luxurious dish.”
A perfect example of this is Sokyo’s Chase Toro Toro sushi which sees bluefin tuna belly topped with sea urchin and sprinkled with shavings of black truffle. It also happens to be the favourite dish of Nineteen at The Star’s Executive Chef, Uday Huja.
Dayan has spent this truffle season experimenting with the truffles he has on hand. “I like to turn portion of the truffles we buy into butter as it becomes more versatile and easier to add,” says Dayan. “I have recently been playing with a truffle crème caramel and truffle ice cream which are both ultra-delicious.
Truffle has this unique ability to be both the hero and the support act, so you have something ultra-rich it will support that or if it is more subtle then the truffle will be the hero.” Truffle is on the menu at both Sokyo and Cucina Vivo while the season lasts. Book now at thestarsydney.com.au and thestargoldcoast.com.au.