The Australia grown Black winter truffles (Tuber melanosporum Vitt.) is an edible fungus that grows underground from the roots of oak and hazelnut trees. They can take around five to seven years to reach maturity, and it’s only after this time that the fruiting body of the truffle—the bumpy, lumpy black thing you associate with food—is produced. The Truffle fungus maintains a symbiotic association with the host tree, this mutually beneficial relationship is known as mycorrhiza. The fungus provides the tree with nutrients from the soil and makes soil and water more available. On the other hand, the tree provides the fungus with a place to live and supplies carbohydrates for growth.
Tuber melanosporum Vitt. Peridium (skin): warty looking, formed of small, not very prominent warts, black in colour. Gleba (inside): black in ripe examples, with fine white veins, tending to over ripen when exposed to the air and which disappears easily in cooking.
The Black Winter Truffle are sometimes named after the Périgord region in France.
Black Winter Truffles are native to Western Europe. However, after centuries of effort, the famous culinary truffles are being successfully cultivated in different continents, firstly across Southern Hemisphere regions and especially Western Australia and then into North & South America. Western Australian Truffle was first cultivated in 1997 from spores brought in from the Périgord growing region.
Black Winter Truffles are a high-value delicacy. Its production relies heavily on scientific understanding with perfect climatic conditions and being able to access specialized labour including dog handling and ongoing summer and autumn irrigation.