Winter is not all cold weather and misery, in fact there are things that can only be enjoyed during winter seasons such as truffle.
Truffle is in fact fungi grown underground near the roots of particular trees, such as oaks and hazelnuts. Those grown in Australia is the black winter truffle whose season runs from June to September each year. This year a five-course truffle tasting menu is crafted by Senior Sous Chef Luke Fernley from InterContinental Sydney to showcase black truffles hand-selected from The Truffle Farm in Canberra. The feast begins with grated truffle on fettuccine, arguably the best vessel to carry the pungent aroma.
The Italian and French countryside is where most of the world’s natural truffles are produced while Tasmania is the home of Australia’s first black truffle. Australian farms attempt to recreate, with moderate success, the truffle’s natural habitats by planting oak and hazelnut trees. Whether the truffle is shaved, grated or infused, the captivating flavour can be matched with a variety of food. Chef Luke paired shaved black truffle with award winning Piccolo Farm quail as the second course, and then with Wagyu short rib for the extra indulgence.
Dubbed the black diamond, truffles can cost thousands of dollars per kilo depending on rarity, seasonality and delicacy. Truffle growth requires specific climate and soil condition, usually hot summers and cold winters in well-drained soils with a high pH level. Luckily we have plenty of such areas in western and southern Australia making it the fourth largest truffle-growing country in the world and the largest outside Europe. Truffle infused double brie from Tasmania serves as a palate cleanser before the last course – nutty black truffle ice-cream.
The meal was completed with artful pairings of wine sourced from prestigious domestic wine regions. Hunter Valley Pinot Grigio opens the scene, Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon brings the tasting to a climax, and Barossa Pedro Ximenez marks the sweet ending for the lavish dinner.
Tantalisingly Truffle is available at InterContinental Sydney every Friday and Saturday from 5:30pm to 10pm. The five-course degustation costs $139 per person with the option of paired wines for an additional $49.
117 Dining, InterContinental Sydney
117 Macquarie St, Sydney
Phone: (02) 9240 1396