Truffles: New Zealand's black gold

The first Périgord black truffles were found in 2015 and now Colin and Maureen Binns are supplying restaurants and hosting truffle hunts during the harvest season.

“You always have concerns around how many truffles you’ve got and what sort of quality you’re going to get,” Maureen says. “Two years ago, the aroma was fantastic, last year the aroma wasn’t as strong. It depends on the climate, how much rain and how much cold you get [that season]. We can’t change those things; all we can do is try to produce the best that we can. I get nervous if I worry too much, but I’m not going to worry because I know there are truffles there and I know that we’ve got a good dog that will find them.”

The couple used to contract a travelling truffle dog service to detect ripe truffles, but decided it would be best to train up their own dog in order to check the truffière regularly.

Having their own truffle dog on site proved invaluable, with Jed regularly finding them every other day instead of relying on someone else to bring their dog to check sporadically.

According to the NZTA, Périgord black truffles thrive best on sites with free draining soils, preferably loamy soil with no more than 30 percent clay. They need a soil pH of 7.5 or higher, around 700mm of rainfall, and a good sunny aspect with high sunshine hours, to create an open, sunny woodland.


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