August 10 2021 – Georgie Foot
Everything you need to know about the Périgord Truffles used in The Kiwi Artisan Black Truffle Olive Oil.In the heart of the Canterbury’s limestone country, nestled deep within the rich soils you’ll find the misshappen form of a highly sought-after black truffle.
Named after the French region in which they were discovered, Périgord Black Truffles were first introduced into New Zealand soils in 1993.
What is a truffle?
In layman’s terms, truffles are the fruiting bodies of underground mushroom. Their distinguishing features are the delicate maze-like formation of its fleshy body, and the elusive aroma that some would describe as ‘the smell of a forest floor’.
Truffles are an incredibly complex fungi to grow, hunt and harvest. Truffles growers dedicate years to mastering the fine craftsmanship of producing these elusive species. Whilst truffles are considered a type of mushroom, they grow underground around the roots of trees such as oaks or hazelnuts.
The process starts with hazelnut or oak seedlings being injected with fungi cells and planted apart from each other with enough space for the roots to spread. As the trees grow, so do the truffles by attaching them to the roots which in turn feed the truffles glucose.
How to harvest a truffle?
Historically pigs were used to find the truffles by smelling them out. Issues arose when more truffles were being eaten by the pigs than successfully harvested. Dogs are the more popular choice nowadays, as they’re far easier to train, more light-footed on the delicate terrain and, not surprisingly, they’re voted as better company to the hard-working truffle farmers.
It’s a remarkable spectacle to witness truffle farmers and their cohort of specially trained dogs in action. But pinpointing the truffles location isn’t where it ends. One has to dig out the truffles, which can be found as much as 30cm below the surface, whilst being careful not to damage the incredibly delicate exterior of the fungi.
How to enjoy a truffle?
Exactly as we have done! A delicate shaving of a black truffle, infused into extra virgin olive oil. Just a drizzle of this rich and earthy oil will enhance your dish. Don’t be fooled by the unsightly appearance of a truffle. This diamond of the kitchen adds richness, elegance and restaurant-quality favours to your home cooked meals.