Skip to content


Your cart is empty



The Friend & Burrell white truffle journey began over 15 years ago when I gave English journalist, Gareth Renowden, a ride from a truffle conference in Bowral, in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, to truffle farming friends of his in the Southern Tablelands. Gareth was not only erudite on the subject of white truffles, having been all over the world learning and writing about the world of truffles, he had also recently migrated to New Zealand to set up his own black truffle farm.

Gareth regaled me with his adventures throughout Eastern Europe, focussing especially on his time with the Zigante family and their business Zigante Tartufi, based in Buje - a hilltop town in Istria, Croatia's westernmost peninsula, located just 10 km inland from the Adriatic Sea. I was surprised when Gareth informed me of the history and culture of the Tuber magnatum in other Eastern European territories. For years, along with many in the truffle world, I believed the well-worn narrative that associated Tuber magnatum almost exclusively with Alba in Piedmont.

Coincidentally, soon after meeting Gareth, I also met a Croatian family with truffle connections in Istria through my son Billy’s tennis fraternity. We had them arrange our first 500 grams of Tuber magnatum, into Melbourne - the first such import of its kind for us. I clearly remember how nervous I was when driving to Vue De Monde, reflecting on how it was that this 500 grams of truffle was worth more than my old Subaru was at the time.

Over the past 20 years I have had the privilege of visiting Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, and Italy, where I have made great friendships with families, skilled in the art of truffle hunting. During each and every season, October to February, they continue a ritual passed on through the generation of family - human and canine. The yields today depend on Mother Nature and what she is prepared to offer, as Tuber magnatum are strictly harvested only in the wild. Today, we import from the three major European white truffle regions of Croatia, Serbia and Hungary; each tuber is carefully selected by its firmness, and aroma.

The quality and availability of white truffles vary each season, significantly influenced by prevailing environmental conditions. Key factors include seasonal variations in water availability and temperature, which are critical to truffle growth. Additionally, deforestation and changes in delicate ecosystems also affect the natural habitats where truffles are found, further impacting their supply.

Over many years I have learnt much about the cultural importance attached to Tuber magnatum, in European communities here in Australia and around the world. It would be fair to say that without their support our capacity to import the mighty whites into Australia would not be possible.

Friend & Burrell  thanks all of our friends, our truffle grading partners, our hunters and their families and dogs throughout the Balkan Peninsula and most importantly our chefs and front of house teams in Australia who support us by taking these gastronomic marvels to their diners.