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Time to stop and smell the truffles

Emma Macdonald

Have you seen them yet? Small, dark unassuming little balls of just about the most mysterious culinary magic there is. Yes, truffles.

Last week the Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets stocked its first batch for the season. It sold out within hours.

This week they are back – supplied fresh from the soil by The Truffle Farm on Mount Majura Road. There is something wonderful about knowing our local ground is nurturing world-class fungi which is not only exported from the ACT to interstate, but which makes very regular sorties to top restaurants overseas during the peak of the season.

Clearly eager local truffle-lovers will need to be quick.

Three stores at the Fyshwick Markets stock the fresh local truffles including Wiffens, Mart Deli and Deli Planet.

Barbara Clarke, from Mart Deli, said her customers were waiting for the first frost to signal that the truffle season was underway.

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Barbara Clarke from Mart Deli.

“Canberrans are pretty clever, they know all about truffles now,” she said.

Barbara says most customers get hooked after trying truffled cheeses or using truffle-flavoured oil on food. They then get adventurous and may spend between $25-$50 on their own small, fresh sample.

“Most people use it to grate over eggs or pasta,” she said, but Barbara also suggests grating some through butter and putting a dollop on a freshly-seared steak.

According to Deli Planet’s Catherine Worsley, customers have been inquiring about fresh truffles for the past month.

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Catherine Worsley from Deli Planet.

“It was a relief to finally get them in stock!”

Many buy a small piece to slice between a brie cheese, which will take on the heady and pungent aroma of truffle within about 48 hours.

But if you aren’t keen on doing it yourself, they make and sell the cheese, or you can order one of their popular truffle pizzas, which have fresh truffle and cheese on top.

Wiffen’s Ruth Roxburgh said a perfect and simple way to employ a truffle was to use it to flavour eggs. Wiffens stocks fresh eggs infused with fresh truffle or you can buy the truffle separately and take it home to do it yourself. Wiffens also makes a home-made truffle butter which is a hot seller at this time of year.

“You can almost get complacent about truffle season rolling around again but food lovers around the world would kill to live in a truffle-growing region like ours where truffles are so affordable,” said Ruth.

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Simple but delicious truffle eggs from Wiffens.

Meanwhile, the news from The Truffle Farm is that it is shaping up to be a bumper season.

Owner Jayson Mesman is praying for continued frosts to complement a hot but wet summer. Rain at this stage would not be good.

Jayson, who is a professional dog trainer, has just taken on seven new rescue dogs which he is training to seek out the precious tubers.

And if you think it is risky to take a young and frisky rescue dog into an expensive truffle orchard, Jayson’s newest recruit has shown remarkable talent. Bingo was taking part in a “mock” truffle hunt for a Tourism Australia commercial in May when he veered wildly off path and dug up a prime 70 gram, top-grade truffle.

May there be many more in the months to come.

While the season usually winds up in mid-August, Jayson is hoping this year’s good conditions will stretch it out until Father’s Day in September.

the essential
Fyshwick Market trading hours are 7am to 5.30pm Thursday to Sunday
Where: 12 Dalby Street Fyshwick

Feature images by Lean Timms

This is a sponsored editorial. For more information on sponsored editorial, click here.

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Emma Macdonald

Emma Macdonald has been writing about Canberra and its people for more than 20 years, winning numerous awards for her journalism - including a Walkley or two - along the way. Canberra born and bred, she’s fiercely loyal to the city, tribally inner-north, and relieved the rest of the country is finally recognising Canberra’s cool and creative credentials. More about the Author