I received an email this morning notifying me of this amazing discovery, and decided to find out a little more about black truffles. I have had the indulgence of sampling truffle at a food & wine pairing evening, and was not unaware that because of their incredibly high price they are used sparingly.
Truffles have a pungent aroma, the white truffles are served raw or shaved over buttered pastas, salads or fried eggs, and the white or black may be inserted into meats, under the skin of roasted fowl, in the preparation of foie gras, in pates or in stuffings, it is also used in some specialty cheeses.
The flavor of black truffles is far less pungent and more refined than that of white truffles. Its strong flavor is often described as syrupy sweet. Black truffles also are used for producing truffle salt and truffle honey.
The black truffle or Black Périgord Truffle (Tuber melanosporum), the second-most commercially valuable species, is named after the Périgord region in France and it grows with oak and hazelnut trees; black truffles are harvested in late autumn and winter.
According to www.enjoyfoiegras.com French winter black truffles are often called the “Diamonds of Périgord.” They are simply exquisite, and from December to March, French truffle markets feature delectable Périgord black truffles characterized by a subtle aroma and an earthy flavor reminiscent of a rich chocolate.”
The Périgord Black Truffle (Tuber melanosporum) grows beneath the surface of the soil among the root systems of specific types of trees and develops a symbiotic relationship with those trees, which primarily consist of oak, but also beech, hazelnut, chestnut, birch and poplar. With the exception of the white Alba truffle, Périgord truffles are scarcer, more desirable and higher-priced than other truffles.
Woodford Truffles South Africa has recently confirmed the discovery of the first Black Perigord Truffle in the Western Cape on the farm Altima, one of the properties within the Anthonij Rupert Wyne portfolio. After six years of the required nurturing and care by Coenie and Hanene Van Dyk, the managers at Altima, their Truffler aka Clyde the Jack Russel sniffed out the 200gm truffle in the brulé of one of the inoculated oak trees. The Altima property is owned by Johann Rupert and is situated near his Elandskloof property near Villiersdorp.
According to Marda and Trevor, Woodford Truffles SA’s dog trainers have been on the prowl for the elusive truffle for the past two years. Italian truffle guru, Prof Alessandra Zambonelli predicted the imminent appearance of truffles in the area after a thorough on site root inspection of the orchard trees earlier this year, before it was discovered by Clyde’s ‘clever nose’ in July.
In the future, the orchard will be monitored on a weekly basis until the end of the winter harvest season. This will be done by Clyde and his fellow furry companion, Bonnie, who will be joined by Zippy the farm’s latest addition.
South Africa’s first black diamond truffle was unearthed in Mpumalanga in January this year.
The site at Altima where the truffle was discovered.