It’s been a warm, wet summer in Britain and that’s brought another bumper crop of summer truffles. Back at the beginning of the month The Guardian consulted Truffles UK boss Nigel Haddon-Paton:
“It’s a really exciting year,” said Haddon-Paton. “Like most crops, truffles need water and warmth and that’s what we’ve had this summer. There are lots of truffles and we have found them up to 500g each – bigger than cricket balls. We had a look at some three weeks ago, but they weren’t right. They had grown slowly because of the spring cold. However, since then we have had lots of rain, which has helped them grow, and it has also been humid, so they are doing very well.”
More from The Times, Telegraph, Independent and the BBC, who reported on a find of ten summer truffles in a Plymouth garden. There’s a little video snippet on that page that’s worth watching, if only for the reporter’s halting attempts to use a few truffle cliches. Britain’s first truffle dog championship was also held earlier this month near Basingstoke in Hampshire. The winner was Bramble, a black labrador owned by James Fever from Wiltshire, the Basingstoke Gazette reports.
Meanwhile, in Australia, another good season is approaching its end, as The Age discovers.
According to president of the Australian Truffle Growers’ Association, Wayne Haslam, Australia’s 150 truffle growers are expected to harvest 1 1/2 to two?tonnes of truffles this year. Official figures say half of those will come from WA, a quarter from northern Tasmania and the remainder from Ballarat, the Yarra Valley and Gippsland in Victoria; and Canberra, Bathurst and Orange in NSW. However, many growers say the figures don’t add up and are secretive about their yields – this is a product worth up to $3000 a kilogram, after all. At its annual general meeting last month, the association predicted that Australian truffle production would approach 10 tonnes by 2013. Perfect timing, with export markets opening up around the world as French truffle production rates plummet and Australian growers develop a reputation for quality.
There’s nothing like confidence – and the truffles to back it up. If you’d like to see pictures of at least one of the people quoted therein (hi Wayne!), visit Aussie magazine Regional Food, and view their nifty photo essay on truffles in Australia and Umbria.