Last week a special delivery arrived at The French Laundry in the Napa Valley - the first Australian truffles of the season. Evidently homegrown truffles are internationally recognised to be superior in quality and flavour. But if you’re unsure what to do with a handful of black gold, or a little nervous about the price tag (truffles sell for up to $2500 a kilogram), this new collaboration is sure to pique your interest.
Duncan Garvey, of Tasmania’s Perigord truffles, supplies black Perigord truffles to leading restaurants across the country, from Neil Perry’s Rockpool Group to Stefano Manfredi’s Balla at The Star. Pierre Issa, aka Pepe Saya, is another connoisseur of fine foods, producing hand-churned, cultured butter - another chef-favourite. Garvey and Issa have joined forces to produce a match made in heaven: fresh truffle butter.
The Australian truffle season runs from mid-June through to early September. “The truffle grows in a wonderful symbiotic relationship with the tree. It initiates in late spring, in autumn it starts to take its size from the amount of moisture in the soil and as it gets colder it gradually matures and develops its perfume,” says Garvey.
“A lot of people um-and-ah about buying a fresh truffle, because they don’t know how to cook with it and it can be expensive, but you can’t go wrong with truffle butter,” says Garvey. “You can cook a steak or roast potatoes and melt the truffle butter on top, toss in pasta, or simply spread on warm sourdough.”
While we’re busy slathering truffle butter on everything in sight, Garvey has a hidden agenda. “Hopefully the truffle butter also weans people off truffle oil. A lot of people still think truffle oil reflects what a truffle actually tastes like. In fact it has nothing to do with truffles, it’s a petroleum based product made in Europe, it’s all synthetic.”
Pepe Saya Perigord Truffle Butter is available online at perigord.com.au, in Sydney at Eveleigh Farmers’ Market, Marrickville Market, Victor Churchill and Hudson Meats, and in Melbourne at Madame Truffles.
More suppliers to come on-board shortly, check pepesaya.com.au