Truffles are considered a food delicacy, they are coveted around the world, as their aroma and flavour can luxuriously enhance a meal. They are all the rage this time of year. Restaurants are doing truffle dinners, truffle degustations and cafes are shaving it over pretty much anything they serve for a hefty price tag. Some do it well and others taste lack lustre. Intrigued by this ingredient and desire to learn more, we made a booking to visit Mount Majura truffle farm to find out more.
Owner Jayson Mesman, an AFP dog trainer, who through a sliding doors moment, found himself utilising his dog training skills to train dogs to find Truffles. Jayson’s skills as a trainer has made him very sought after and had him travelling the world with his dog Samson who was as an expert in finding truffles.
Jayson stumbled across the Mount Majura truffle farm by accident and ended up purchasing the farm from founder Sherry McArdle-English. He’s since built up a successful truffle farm businesses and now offering tours, brunches and dinners for those eager to learn more.
We booked our truffle hunt a few weeks in advance because it does sell out. So we recommend you do too. At $60 per person, we believe is good value for the unique experience. Our truffle hunt was led by Jayson’s partner Emily who was a great host, very personable and informative and and being a cook and very passionate about truffles.You learn about the history of the site and how it became a successful truffle farm and the key role played by the truffle dogs.
The experience is a fun one as you get to interact with these beutiful dogs, on our visit it was Simba, chocolate labrador. Simba was happy to lead the troops around and didn’t mind having a couple of kids as a shadow for the day. Simba sniffs out the truffles with ease and was rewarded with a treat for finding them and we did the dirty work with a shovel to dig them up. It’s certainly not a finders keepers style activity, particularly when they’re $50 per 20 g or $2500 a kg.
Along the way, you’ll learn plenty of facts about truffles including the different types of truffles and the flavours that come from different trees; French Oak (producing peaty flavours), English Oak (producing earthy and woody notes) and hazelnut (producing chocolatey notes)
After the hunt you’ll head back to the shed for tasting and to learn how to best utilise them as a culinary ingredient. We tried a delicious truffle infused cauliflower soup and a decadent truffle tiramisu.
Truffles are not recommended to use in the way you see it all over Instagram with it shaved all over your pasta. It is about delicacy, and the infusion with simple ingredients. There are some tricks of the trade when it comes to cooking with truffles and thankfully Emily shared them with us. The hints provided also help extend the use of your truffle and will help you gain great value out of these magnificent delights that you have dug out of the earth.
We were given the helpful hint “infuse to reuse” and we were also advised that truffle oil is a myth and is entirely synthetically manufactured product and not a good option for infusing.
Let the truffle infuse with your ingredients before using, like in a case of uncooked eggs in a container, or uncooked rice. The truffle aroma will permeate the shell and infuse the egg with the truffle flavour. Later, you can then put a slice between your brie (or other cheese).
Finally, you can shave and infuse into salt and butter, freezing the butter to extend it’s life.
We have since utilised these techniques and have made the most delicious truffles eggs and risotto at home, this making our visit to the farm well worth the price of admission.
We thoroughly recommend making a booking to do the Mount Majura truffle hunt experience. Alternatively, you can book in for the brunch option ($148) or the six-course lunch or dinner degustation ($198)
Runs June – September
23 Mount Majura Road