As a celebrated ‘foodie’ city, it’s hardly surprising Melbourne has an annual Truffle Festival – but it’s a bit more unusual to find a stall that looks like a newspaper stand selling these delicacies right on Collins Street.
Nigel Woods is the man behind ‘Truffle Pop-Up‘, which is selling fresh truffles and related products to the end of August.
Mr Woods has been in the truffle industry for nearly 20 years and farming them for a decade.
He told Hatch that truffles are very much a seasonal product, available fresh only in the Australian winter. While truffles are often associated with France, they have been grown successfully in cool climates all over the world – including Victoria.
Mr Woods’s stall is selling truffles of many sizes and styles, as well as pastes, oils and gift packs, and says it’s a chance to engage with customers who wouldn’t normally try the famously expensive fungus.
“The truffle market in Melbourne is kind of a mix of people who are die-hard foodies and truffle lovers,” Mr Woods said.
“But then there’s a whole bunch of curious other people who have heard about truffles and are just excited to try them.
“And because we are on Collins Street, there are heaps of tourists going by as well.”
This is the fourth year for the annual Truffle festival, which also includes photography tours and mock-truffle hunts with dogs specially trained for this work.
Mr Woods has taken part every year.
“I think each year, people have learnt a little bit more [about truffles],” he said.
“When I started out, and told people I am going to a truffle festival, they would say ‘oh, you mean chocolates?’ and then I would say ‘no, no, I mean the underground mushroom truffle.’ And they’d say, ‘oh, okay.’ But nobody say that anymore,” he said.
Story, video and images by Lamourette Folly.