The first Australian truffle was harvested in 1999 and since then, the country has become the world’s fourth-largest producer of the highly valuable Black Périgord or Tuber Melanosporum truffle. Catching up to Spain, Italy, and France, Australia is annually producing over 20,000kg of Black Périgords. Selling for more than A$2,500 a kilogram in Australia, the sought after fungus is the second most valuable truffle variety after the prized Italian White Truffle.
The Australian truffle season generally runs between late May and September, with truffles getting more pungent and black in June when they are ready for harvest. The winter season offers an advantage to Australian truffle growers, as the Australian Black Périgord are available when their northern hemisphere varieties are not.
There are around 300 truffle farms located around Australia, with the large majority found in the colder regions of the country. Western Australia is Australia’s largest truffle producing state, with over 70 per cent of Australia’s truffles being produced there. Most of these truffles come from the small town of Manjimup, which is home to Truffle Hill. Producing more than half of Australia’s total production, Truffle Hill is the biggest truffière in the southern hemisphere.
Usually, more than 80 per cent of Australia’s truffle crop is exported overseas to some of the world’s best restaurants in over 60 different countries. However, pandemic-induced restaurant closure meant that last year’s exports were lower than usual. As fresh truffles only have a shelf life of two weeks, exports need to be efficient to ensure the greatest value of the product.
Every season, truffle festivals and degustation dinners take place around Australia. In the coming weeks, we will be covering the Australian restaurants where you can try the most indulgent truffle dishes of the season.