Robertson Truffles

The smelly, highly coveted diamond of the kitchen

From a serene farm in the beautiful NSW Southern Highlands come these premium Black Perigord truffles, the finest and most fragrant of all the truffles. 

Truffles don’t come easy

In an ideal world, truffles would be found in forests everywhere, growing naturally and with no need to toil the fields and create a prime environment for growth. While this isn’t an ideal world, we’re lucky to have people like Patrick and Tanya Moroney, who carefully tend to their farm in the town of Robertson to produce a bountiful harvest of truffles for us to enjoy.

Robertson Truffle Farm is one of Australia’s first truffle farms, located in the town of Robertson a few hours outside of Sydney. The town is noted for its distinctive red volcanic basalt soil, known as Robertson soil. This soil, combined with a good amount of rainfall and cool frosty winters, sets the perfect conditions for truffle growing. 

There’s a reason why truffles carry a $2,000 per kilo price tag. It’s a labour of love and time and effort, and duly unpredictable, but one that keeps the couple busy while working their passion. Patrick and Tanya work hard during spring and summer to create the prime conditions for truffles to grow underground. They carefully prune and manage the soil, feed and pour love into their beautiful oak trees, sample the soil, check irrigation lines, and keep grasses trimmed and free of fauna like wombats. Then, between June and August, the valuable French Black Perigord truffles can be harvested and distributed to local and international restaurants and grocers.

One of the most frustrating things about growing truffles is that you can’t see your crop. Dogs or pigs are used to help the truffiers find the truffle fruits growing underground. Many of the dogs are old working dogs that have been trained to sniff contraband and explosives, though almost any dog will pick up on the whiff of truffle seeping from underground.  

From deep underground, a prized ingredient is blooming

Truffles grow as the fruit of a fungus called mycelium, which colonises the roots of trees and spreads into the surrounding soil. They’re like mushrooms, only they’re found underground instead of aboveground. The truffle grows and coats every root of the host tree like a glove, and the two share a special and fascinating symbiotic relationship – which is why all the hard work put in by the Morony’s is so important. The truffles provide nutrients to the tree, like phosphorus and nitrogen, and the tree gives back a dose of carbon and carbohydrates. 

French Black Perigord Truffles, the ones you find on Robertson Truffle Farm, originated from the Perigord region in France. On Robertson Truffle Farm, they grow around the roots of Quercus Ilex and Quercus Robur Oak trees, of which there are 315 beautiful specimens on the farm. Edible truffles are held in immensely high esteem in many cuisines, including French, Croatian, Georgian, Bulgarian, Greek, Italian, Middle Easern, and Spanish cuisine, as well as international haute cuisine. 

The smelly, highly coveted diamond of the kitchen

French gourmet Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin calls truffles ‘The diamond of the kitchen’ and there’s something to be said for their strong flavour, mysterious aroma, and oh-so-valuable nature. But not just any kind of truffle is considered a luxury delicacy. There’s a wide variation of factors considered when grading truffles. The four key areas assessed when grading truffles are their condition, fragrance, marbling, and texture. Only when a truffle excels in each of these categories does it make the cut to be transported to the world’s finest kitchens. 

Black Perigord truffles are one of the most expensive edible fungi in the world, recognised for their deep aroma that encapsulates the scent of the undergrowth, wet earth, and dried fruit with a hint of cocoa and strawberries. The taste of Perigord Truffles fully develops when they are heated and cooked, emitting a slightly peppery and bitter flavour that oozes into the food and permeates a rich umami flavour. So, you see, the truffles have earned their price tag and the hard work of Patrick and Tanya, combined with the prime conditions of Robertson soil, make Robertson Truffles something worth talking about.

Read about some of the exclusive & most passionate producers in Australia in CHEFIN’s team deep dive into New South Wale’s best producers.