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Farmed truffles are the next best thing

By Amanda Lee in Perth, Australia | China Daily | Updated: 2013-04-28 14:53

One of the most coveted of all foods in the culinary world has to be truffles. These fungi can fetch up to 12,400 yuan ($2,600) a kilogram. Despite the price, demand for these pungent mushrooms is high across the world.

Truffles are known for their strong scent, which has been compared to be many things - from smoky and sexy to a mixture of sweat and dirty socks.

There are two types of truffles, white and black. White truffles are the most expensive because they are rare, and then there are French black or Perigord truffles, named after the region they come from.

Truffles come from Europe - mainly France, Italy and Spain - where production has dwindled due to various reasons and truffle farming has stepped in to fill the gap, even beyond the Old Continent.

In Perth, Australia, the Wine and Truffle Company located in Manjimup, is probably the single most successful truffiere outside of Europe.

Established under the guidance of forestry scientist Nick Malajczuk, a world authority on edible fungi, The Wine and Truffle Company started cultivating truffles with hazelnut trees in 1997. In 2004, they harvested their first truffles.

Truffles require very specific conditions to grow in and Australia seems to have fulfilled them. The soil has to be free draining, with rough, large irregular particles so water flows through easily. Also, the hot summers and cold winters in Manjimup are ideal for truffle growth.

The largest truffle that The Wine and Truffle Company had harvested weighed 1,016 grams and in 2012, the largest truffle harvested was 998 grams.

The Wine and Truffle Company exports truffles to 14 countries worldwide. The harvested truffles are cleaned by the afternoon and delivered to the airport by evening.

Apart from truffles, truffle products are also available. Truffle oil is available in a range of 40ml to 500ml bottles. Truffle-infused sea salt flakes, truffle mustard, truffle honey and balsamic truffle vinaigrette are also part of the gourmet truffle product line.

Farmed truffles are the next best thing

Farmed truffles are the next best thing

Time for truffles

A new mountain treasure 

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