Monday, August 28, 2006

Sittn' on the bottom of the world...

Means it's winter in August, and you've got an export market wide open to you:

Not content with taking on the French at making wine, Australians are now getting into another hallowed Gallic tradition - truffle cultivation.

The first Australian truffle farm was established in Tasmania and the first "black diamond", as the French call them, was triumphantly plucked from the ground in 1999.

Since then around 50 truffle plantations have been established in Tasmania, New South Wales and Victoria.

The business has been pioneered by Duncan Garvey, a former agricultural economist....

He has brought along his trusty truffle-hunting hound, an English springer spaniel called Pickles.

.... Duncan encourages his dog in a soft voice: "Find truffles, Pickles, find truffles."

....The plantation around which we are walking is the property of husband and wife team Bill and Pat deCorsie.

....This is the deCorsie's first harvest and so far they have gathered around six kilograms of the black treasure. That does not sound much until you learn that a kilo of good quality truffles sells for USD $2,300.

....Earlier this month, a small consignment of truffles was sent to a gourmet restaurant in Tokyo. It was the first time that Australian truffles had been exported abroad.

Duncan says the Japanese were "blown away" by the fact that they were eating fresh truffles in August - Europe's truffles will not be ready for harvest for another six months, which is why the Australians think they can compete with Italy and France.

[Thanks to This French Life]

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