It was beautiful early winters day, fingers of sunlight, lush green paddocks and the late tint of autumn leaves. Robertson in the southern highlands just outside of Sydney, is a neat little country town with a rather up market looking restaurant just next to the local Massey tractor dealer. That’s the duplicity of the area. Across the rail line we descended into the eastern valley, the road sanguine to the bottom of the valley, across a waterway and into the picture-perfect Robertson truffles. Pulling up into the drive way we were greeted by Sam (the owner) and a much welcoming open fire, a few nice cheeses and some conversation with our fellow hunters.
As the dogs were waiting, we made the short walk from the shed to the “la Truffiere” a paddock with several hundred English oaks, both evergreen and deciduous varieties that had been inoculated with black truffle spore (tuber melanosporium).
Today’s truffle dog Perri, named I’m assuming after the Périgord region in France, which is famous for black winter truffles, was keen for a treat or two so headed off for a good sniff.
Under each tree is called the “brulee” which in regard to the dessert of the same name means essentially burnt. This area under the canopy was free from any plant growth and thus had been burnt by the active truffle spores. A good brulee is a great indicator that there could be truffles in the ground, but not always a sign that there are truffles. I visited another truffle farm the next day with a great brulee but not truffles, not even after 8 years. That’s the vagaries of truffle farming.
The fine brown loam of Robertson and the frosty nature of the terror seems to have blessed this place with excellent shaped firm truffles, with a wonderful powerful aroma. The soil profile so fine many of the truffles were bursting almost like pimples though the surface of the soil, others could be dug up with just a kitchen soon and your fingers.
Having procured a couple of dozen nice sized specimens, a lot of laughter and a great time we headed back to the shed and the fire pit, for a simple lunch of truffled pumpkin soup, quiche and cheese with freshly shaved truffle straight from the ground. Perfect paddock to plate.
151 McEvilly Rd, Robertson NSW