- Australia hosts far more truffle-like species than Europe or anywhere else in the world. Around 300 species are documented here in Australia however recent field work estimates this number to rise exponentially to an estimated 1200-2400. Europe, in (odious) comparison, has only a couple of hundred. Unfortunately, reports to date indicate our native truffles are no taste sensation (unless you’re a Potoroo) – but who knows what might be discovered in the wildly extreme and undocumented 1200-2400 truffles?
- I’m constantly surprised at just how many times truffles can crop up in conversation (pun intended) – from Plutarch to Rossini to Monty Python …. And I just had to include Monty Python’s Spam Sketch Menu because I will never be given another opportunity!
Egg and bacon
Egg, sausage and bacon
Egg and Spam
Egg, bacon and Spam
Egg, bacon, sausage and Spam
Spam, bacon, sausage and Spam
Spam, egg, Spam, Spam, bacon and Spam
Spam, Spam, Spam, egg and Spam
Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, baked beans, Spam, Spam, Spam and Spam
Lobster Thermidor aux crevettes with a Mornay sauce, garnished with truffle pâté, brandy and a fried egg on top, and Spam.
For those wishing to re-visit this sketch, here’s the link!
- Black truffle has been included in the most unlikely (to my imagination) of products from potato crisps (not such a stretch) to face creams (reputedly preventing a stretch).
- Australia is currently the fourth largest black truffle producer after France, Italy and Spain.
- Black truffle contains glutamic acid which acts as a flavour enhancer in food. A natural MSG!
- The South of England produces a type of summer truffle – I had to include this intensely interesting and perception-changing fact – as I did NOT know and I went to boarding school in Dorset. We spent much (enforced) time traipsing the woods with attendant rain and likely lurking truffles. Had I known I would have enjoyed those walks so much more! Not. Apparently, one family in Wiltshire held the only Royal warrant to hunt for truffles in the UK until as recently as 1930. Since then it’s just been an unmitigated free for all.
- Truffles are a cross between a fungus and a tuber (which is uncoincidentally the Latin word for truffle) so they actually have more in common with a carrot than a fungus.
- Just how many different trees are happy to host a truffle! Depending on the type of truffle, you can find various oak, hazel (and I’m starting with those as these are the ones I did know!) to chestnut, beech, pine, red alder, cottonwood and pecan to name a few and I’m sure there are more!
- I had to bring this up, the elephant in the room. Chocolate truffles originated in 1895 in Chambray, France and are named after truffles because of their appearance, right down to the dusting of cocoa as a form of ‘soil’. Unlike chocolate truffles, you can eat as many black truffles as you like and not become said elephant.
- I did not know how much time I would spend on the mower – yes, I’ve managed to incorporate that again!