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Truffles and the trees they come from. A deeper dive into what it all means.

Calling all truffle aficionados! Get ready to embark on yet another expedition into the marvelous world of truffle. Buckle up, because in this post, we will taking a deeper dive into the enchanting aromas truffle and the trees they come from. From English to French Oak and Hazelnut, we've been on a mission this year to meticulously sort and categorize these earthy treasures, all in pursuit of unravelling their unique scents and uncovering their flavour companions. Our previous report only scratched the surface but hold onto your taste buds because we're back with more exciting discoveries and tantalizing discussions about how each truffle variety can work its magic in your kitchen.

Discerning truffle compounds from their aroma is not easy

Alrighty, folks, here we go! But first, I've got a confession to make: I'm feeling a tad out of my depth right now. Picture this: I'm swimming in this ginormous pool, and suddenly, the floor disappears, leaving me floundering without a clue. Yep, I've swum out too far, and a wave of panic is starting to wash over me. Let me fill you in on what triggered this sudden self-doubt. You see, I'm a coffee fanatic, and there's this one brand we buy that offers a whole range of blends. But there's this one blend that's always been my nemesis. There's something about it that just doesn't tickle my taste buds, and for the longest time, I couldn't put my finger on why. Then, in my quest for answers, I decided to read the flavour description on the packet, and there it was: strong hazelnut notes. Well, butter my biscuit! Up until that point, I never realized hazelnut was hiding in there. But wait, there's more! Now that I can taste the hazelnut, there's still something else in that blend that's not quite to my liking, and I'm clueless about what it is. So, here's my dilemma: if I can't even unravel the flavour profiles of my beloved daily coffee, what hope do I have of tackling the complexities of truffles? This is where I would be inserting the emoji of the face with clasped hands either side.

But fear not, my truffle-loving friends, all hope is not lost. Let me shed some light on the situation. Trust me, this experiencing is not uncommon at all. In fact, we addressed this very topic in our previous post on aroma and perception. We explained how the world of truffles faces a slight disadvantage compared to the well-explored realms of wine and coffee. You see, while Australian truffles do have their own aroma wheel, like wine and coffee, they haven't had the same level of extensive exploration, research, and training for professionals and aficionados when it comes to sampling and identifying the different components of truffle aroma, let alone pairing them with specific foods. In most cases, the art of pairing truffles with dishes relies on the expertise and experience of 'foodies' and skilled chefs. That approach may work just fine in Europe, where truffle traditions date back millennia, but what about everywhere else? What about Australia, where truffles have only gained popularity in the past 20 years?

Now, keeping all of that in mind, let's delve into what we've discovered through our truffle explorations. But before we dive in, remember I can't quite pinpoint the individual flavour components of our truffles. When I take a whiff of a truffle, I can discern what I like or prefer, but understanding the exact aromas I'm experiencing is a whole different story. For me, while smelling truffles is a multi-faceted experience, across smells, emotions and sheer adoration, when it comes to identifying specific scent profiles, I can only do so in broad strokes. But hey, at least it's a starting point, right? So, let's talk about the aroma wheel. I find it easier to pinpoint the aromas at the centre and, for the most part, the ones in the next ring out. Check it out below.

The truffle aroma wheel sets out the compounds of Australian black truffles
The Australian Black Truffle wheel developed by Professor Gary Lee

Fish River English and French Oak truffle aromas

Now, I can almost hear you asking, "So what do Fish River Truffles actually smell like to you?" Well, brace yourselves, because here's what I've discovered so far. Each truffle is truly unique in its own right and they all have the potential to embody any flavour on the aroma wheel. However, when it comes to the French and English Oak truffles we cultivate, I have managed to detect a distinct flavour profile which I have attempted to visually depict below. Now, please bear in mind that these are preliminary findings and highly subjective, based on my personal experience.

a truffle aroma wheel with what French and English Oak smell like
Focusing in on the aroma of French and English Oak truffle

And when it comes to paring the aroma wheel developed by Professor Lee also gives us the best guidance in terms of the foods that will go with aromas we are able to detect. So from my nose, the highlighted range of compounds for French oak truffles are underlined by the pink line and the green line shows those best pared with our English Oak in the graphic below.

we look at the aroma of truffle from english and french oak and their compounds
From the aromas we were able to detect here we indicated the compounds they will pare well with

Remember, these observations are subject to being updated as we continue our exploration. Truffles are a fascinating realm, and their flavors can surprise and delight us in unexpected ways. So, take this initial glimpse into the world of Fish River Truffles with a grain of salt (or should I say a pinch of truffle grating?)

Fish River Hazelnut truffle aromas

Ah, but what about hazelnut truffles, you ask? Well, they have me a little perplexed and are proving to be quite the enigma, you see. The thing is, they seem to be highly variable, encompassing a wide range of flavors across the entire aroma wheel. In practical terms, it's as if hazelnut truffles have decided to showcase their versatility. As a consequence they would be happy pared with most foods truffle go with, from eggs, to pasta to fish and everywhere in between. I'm left in awe of their adaptability and still exploring the depths of their flavour profiles.

And there you go. Stay tuned for updates on this intriguing journey, there is much more to come.

Ciao for now.


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