What are truffles?
The true truffle belongs to a group of ascomycete fungi of the genus Tuber, of which there are estimated to be over 200 species. These establish a mycorrhizal symbiosis with the roots of some trees and shrubs. (Truffle Farming Today, a Comprehensive World Guide)
In very simple terms, a truffle is the edible fruit of a fungi which grows in association with tree roots.
The plant provides sugars to the fungus through photosynthesis, and the fungus provides the plant with minerals, water, and other nutrients from the soil that it could not get by itself. The actual truffle is the fruiting body of the fungus formed in this symbiotic relationship.
Types of truffle grown in New Zealand
There are four main types of truffle grown in New Zealand, 3 cultivated with purpose and 1 which has found its way here with imported black truffle.
Black Truffle - Tuber melanosporum
Bianchetto - Tuber borchii
Summer Truffle - Tuber aestivum
and the less celebrated Winter truffle - Tuber brumale
How to Store and Use Truffle
What is the best way to store truffle?
On receiving your truffle wrap in a paper towel and place into a sealed container, glass jar or even a zip lock bag. Keep the container in the crisper compartment of your refrigerator avoiding the cooler areas of the fridge. Change paper towel daily to avoid the truffle getting damp.
How long will my truffle keep?
Truffle starts deteriorating as soon as it leaves the ground so is best to keep this in mind when making plans and orders. We recommend using it within 7 - 10 days to ensure you can infuse some foods first but then also use fresh.
How can I use my truffle?
Truffles can be heated to 50 degrees centigrade before they start to loose their aroma meaning they can be used many ways to enhance a dining experience from very simple eggs on toast to extravagant banquets. For some ideas and inspiration visit our recipes.
How much truffle do I need?
This really depends on the dish, personal preference and how decadent the dish. Some prefer a subtle approach while others can't get enough. Around 5 grams per dish per person for the subtle approach is fine, while anything over 10grams per dish per person for the more extravagant.
How is my truffle sent?
How can I buy truffle?
Can I pre order truffle for a special event?
New Zealand delivery information
Can I import New Zealand truffle?
Growing Truffles in New Zealand
What is Truffle Farming
Truffle farming is the cultivation of truffles using a range of techniques to encourage the symbiosis between the fungus and the host plant with which it is associated (holm oak, hazel, etc).
(Truffle Farming Today, a Comprehensive World Guide)
Can you grow truffle in New Zealand
There are specific pockets of land that are suitable for growing truffle in New Zealand. Truffle inoculated trees are planted, then the waiting game begins. Some harvesting truffle after three years, others ten or even never. Part of the magic of truffles is that this is still not fully understood and mother nature still has her secretes. For more information on what is involved in growing truffles look at our Growing Truffles Page.
How is truffle grown in New Zealand
After preparing a site with a suitable pH and climate for growing truffles (long hot summers with the ability to irrigate and dry, cool winters with frosts to ripen the truffle), inoculated trees are planted. Largely oak and hazel species are used in New Zealand but it is possible to use other trees. Once the trees start producing a trained dog is used to locate the truffle underground and then the handler digs the ripe truffle out ready for cleaning.
One of the big issues that New Zealand growers face compared to those in the Northern Hemisphere is the ability to grow grass in New Zealand! Mowing, weed-whacking, grazing at certain times of the year and/or certain sprays can be used to keep the growth to a minimum so not to compete with the mycelium and provide the ideal conditions for it to thrive.
What are the best conditions for growing truffle
A suitable pH (in excess of about 7.6), either from naturally occurring limestone soils or by artificially applying limestone to other soil types.
A very friable, well aerated soil and sufficient moisture at key times throughout drier months.
Warm summer temperatures (days in excess of 30 degrees Celsius) and a frost period in winter (which triggers ripening and enhances aroma).
A relatively dry climate.
An absence of competing fungi.
Note these conditions refer to growing Tuber melanosporum other varieties can differ slightly.
Where can I find more information
Have a question we haven't answered?
Email us your question
Sorry we have not been able to answer your question here. Feel free to email us and hopefully we can help with your queries