It’s hard to describe the charm of a black truffle. The intoxicating scent is not an easy one to forget, and the flavour, well, incomparable.
While some may choose to refrain from dining on fungi unearthed from damp forest floors, others experience a taste sensation finer than any other. In South Africa, black truffles are relatively unknown, but occasionally they can be found on display at a specialist deli or grocer – undoubtedly imported for a hefty fee. Nowadays at certain supermarkets, you can find bottles of black truffle oil – but this is not the complete affair.
The whole enchilada about truffles is to have them shaved from a truffle grater – ideally right in front of you. But be warned, you may get whisked off to the Italian countryside for a brief moment, or rather in this case, the Kwazulu-Natal Midlands. That’s right, the north-eastern corner of the country where rolling green hills are covered with low-lying mist banks, where the foothills of the Drakensberg give way to valleys and idyllic scenes. And now, part of South Africa’s little truffle industry, which is growing bit by bit. One only needs to look at Australia, our neighbours in the southern-hemisphere with whom we share a similar climate, to see how well the local black truffle industry is doing there.
A special collaboration is taking place in July at Auslese, an intimate wine and food pairing venue masterminded by Aubergine Restaurant Head Chef Harald Bresselschmidt, between Aubergine and Woodford Truffles – South Africa’s truffle specialists and a pivotal force in growing the local industry here. There will be four, truffle-accentuated courses served on the night, with wine pairing to compliment each of these lovely dishes.