What a fantastic day ! We were lucky enough to be invited to a truffle hunt at Tarago Truffles NSW by Alex Olsson from Olsson’s Sea Salts and what a stunning day it was, we left at the crack of dawn to meet up at Stones Tea rooms in Berrima for the best bacon and egg roll and coffee that I have had in years, I would travel for this amazing fayre!!!! We then headed off another hour South and into the middle of nowhere to Tarago Truffles, but what a treat, the landscape is breath taking and truffiers Denzil and Anne Sturgiss were there to welcome us into their world!!! We arrived at the farm, which was at the end of a dirt track, to discover 6 acres of hazelnut and french oak trees and to meet up with Dalene Devonshire one of Australia’s best truffle dog trainers. Dalene uses the same techniques adopted at Sydney Airports, where the dogs were primed to discover drugs and explosives, and taking to country living, she in her heart and wisdom decided to rescue some of mans best friends from the dog pound, Lucy and Lilly and trained them to hunt the nuggets of black gold!! This story is real and heartwarming and not a flowered up version from a creative writer!! Slow food at its best!!
Once we got in around the trees , it was all paws on deck with Lucy and Lilly scratching at ramdom patches around the root systems and of course every scratch was rewarded with a treat from Darleens pocket. Once we were all on our hands and knees and scraping around in the soil it was time to get your nose right in there ! Seriously you can smell the soil that incases the truffles , so like something out of an archaeological dig we carfully scratched and scraped to find our amazing truffles. When we got home later that night we tried the same thing with Barney and Jasper our Schnauzers, but we didn’t get the same effect just a sideways glance and a where’s my dinner!!!
You really have to get your nose in there!!!!!!
Now its time to go back to the grading room ,to clean wash and prepare the truffles for sale, this is where Anne waves her magic wand making sure everything is perfect for your plate.
OK now onto the highlight of the day !!! THE FOOD! As Tarago Farm is also a sheep farm, we were invited into the wool shed which was laid out like a scene from Henry the 8th’s banquet room, with long tressle tables laid out with cheesy bubbling fondu pots and bowls of Olsson’s truffle salt. Then, a huge 350g truffle was brought around and grated generously into the molten cheese, where we dipped , dunked and truly made an indulgent mess.
Auntie Liz’s Egg Pate With Fresh Truffle
4 hard boiled eggs
1.5 teaspoon curry powder
1 finely chopped onion
60gm cream cheese
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
Olsson’s Sea Salt & Pepper
Lightly sautee onion in butter, cool and blitz this with all other ingredients until smooth. Refrigerate. and then grate fresh black truffle over the top to serve
Truffle infused Australian Gin makes that perfect and decadent Slow Martini
Whole Baked Truffle in Olssen’s Salt Recipe from Gourmet Traveller August 2014
You’ll need 4 small whole fresh truffles of similar size
4 paper-thin slices of pork fatback or lardo, blanched if salted
340 gm salt 2 large egg whites
Method 1 About 35 minutes before serving, preheat oven to 220C. 2 Wrap each truffle in a slice of fatback. 3 Line 4 brioche moulds with foil. 4 Combine salt and eggwhites in a bowl. Make a layer of salt mixture about 1cm deep in the base of each mould. Place a truffle in each and spoon salt mixture around the sides of each truffle, pressing the mixture with your fingertips to pack. Spoon at least a 1cm layer of salt mixture over the tops of the truffles. Press firmly with your palm to completely seal truffles in salt and flatten salt, so when it’s turned out, the casings won’t wobble. (The recipe can be prepared to this point 1-2 hours ahead.) 5 Bake for 25 minutes for medium-sized truffles, then turn out and remove foil. 6 To serve, place each truffle on a serving dish. Crack each casing lightly and remove the truffle. The truffles will not be salty. In fact, you will probably need to season them with a pinch of salt. Eat them as they are or sliced with bread and toast, and dressed with good walnut oil.
Truffle Cheese Fondue Sauce
This amount of sauce will serve 4 people as the main course.
1 garlic clove
50ml cup kirsh 2 tsp. cornstarch
75g fresh black truffle
400 g Gruyère cheese (aged at last 8 to 12 months), shredded
400g Emmenthaler or Vacherin Fribourgeois cheese, shredded (Please use real Emmenthaler. A generic ‘Swiss Cheese’ will not do. Note that in Switzerland you can buy bags of pre-shredded mixed cheese called “Moitié-moitié”, meaning ‘half and half’.)
1 piece of ‘spreadable’ cheese, e.g. Laughing Cow/La Vache Qui Rit (not the mini-Babybel type, the triangular foil-wrapped soft gooey double-creme type)
1 1/4 cups of young slightly sour white wine such as Chasselas or Sauvignon Blanc
Rub the inside of the fondue pot with the garlic clove. Discard the garlic. (This optional step adds a little extra flavor to the sauce.) Dissolve the cornstarch in the kirsch. Set aside. Put the fondue pot on a medium-heat. Add the wine and cheeses. Heat while stirring, until the cheeses melt. Add the kirsch and keep stirring until the sauce is smooth and bubbly. This takes about 20 minutes. Grate the fresh black truffle into the fondu pot and stir through. Now, set up your fondue pot stand and burner and transfer the pot to the stand. The burner flame (or tabletop cooker) should just be hot enough that the sauce stays how and just sort of seething on the surface. Any hotter and the cheese will burn on the bottom.
I would like to Thanks Denzil and Anne Sturgiss and Alex and Co from Olsson’s Salt for their hospitality and we look forward to working with you all in the future
For all your gourmet truffle products and Olsson’s Salts and rubs goto