News

Dog in training to find truffles

 Tony Southgate with his trusty dog Cosmo inspects a potential truffle site.
Tony Southgate with his trusty dog Cosmo inspects a potential truffle site. Jenna Cairney

WHEN he catches a whiff, Cosmo will start scratching the ground, then sit down and Tony Southgate will know he’s struck fungal gold.

They may look like ugly lumps, but truffles are the pinnacle of the gourmet kitchen and Mr Southgate is waiting to see if this year he will finally find the delicacy on his Granite Belt property.

Cosmo is still in training, but Mr Southgate’s wife Bron is confident the four-year-old English springer spaniel will be ready in time.

Mr Southgate and a couple of gastronomists in the Granite Belt area and purchased several “impregnated” oak trees four years ago, to see if the coldest part of Queensland would breed successful truffles.

“The idea of impregnating oak trees came from Australia and New Zealand,” he explained.

“Truffles have a symbiotic relationship with trees, growing where trees are in alkaline ground, helping the tree handle that amount of alkaline.”

Truffles originally grew in the wild, particularly in parts of Europe such as France and Italy.

They were found in the soil but the sought-after delicacy is now farmed.

“Pigs really love them, so I’ll be sitting around with my gun if we get any of them.”

When Cosmo sniffs truffles out, Mr Southgate will pop a stick in the ground and retrieve them later when they’re ready to eat.

Mr Southgate isn’t your average farmer.

An executive chef, he works occasionally in the kitchen at Felsberg Winery and at an aged pensioner home three days a fortnight.

At his Amiens property he is now something of a pioneer in growing exotic, gourmet produce.

Truffles have been successfully grown in Tasmania and WA.It will be a couple more months before he can judge his success, but foodies in the Sunshine State will be waiting to taste the results.

Fungal facts

Truffles fetch around $1700 a kilo

They are known as “the diamond of the kitchen”

The soil PH must be around 8



Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

A CITY drenched in culture, Brisbane is again flaunting an arts and culture events calendar fit for a queen.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Date nights under $50

Nothing is more romantic than a picnic with a cracking view.

NOT every date has to cost you a bomb.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Insider’s guide to the best rooftop bars

Eleven Rooftop Bar is one to put on your hit list.

SEE the world from a different perspective...

Where to get your hands on the best wings

Try out these bad boys at Buffalo Bar.

IS THERE anything better than a wicked bowl of chicken wings? Nope.

Ute found in river after being "stolen" from Warwick school

A ute in the Condamine River at the Grafton St Bridge in Warwick on Sunday morning

Ute pulled from Condamine River on Sunday morning

Toddler airlifted after foot partially amputated by mower

RACQ LifeFlight was called to Stanthorpe after a young boy suffered a foot injury when he fell from a ride-on mower.

Stanthorpe ambulance called to property after ride-on mower accident

Motorists may have short delays at Warwick bridge

RoadTex at Madsen Bridge today.

One lane closed at Madsen Bridge

Local Partners

Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor split after 17 years

BEN Stiller and his wife Christine Taylor have called it a day in a joint announcement.

Why The Voice hasn't produced a star

Boy George responds to Brittania Clifford-Pugh's heart-warming message.

It's the industry, not the show, says Boy George

These actors hated their movies and didn’t mind admitting it

Channing Tatum and Marlon Wayans in a scene from GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

Every year, Hollywood blesses us with plenty of God awful movies.

Miranda Kerr and fiance hang up backyard tent for wedding

The decorators and caterers are arriving for the final preparations for the wedding of Miranda Kerr and Evan Spiegel. Pictures: Splash

Evan Spiegel and Miranda Kerr are set to marry today

Book review: Mia Freedman's book meets her critics head on

I appreciated Freedman's blunt honesty in the book

Model Bella Hadid's see-through dress shocks in Cannes

US model Bella Hadid attends the Cinema Against AIDS amfAR gala 2017 held at the Hotel du Cap, Eden Roc in Cap d'Antibes, France, 25 May 2017.

It’s like she’s become addicted to shock value.

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Over two dozen government approvals needed for airport expansion

Lost dough leaves sour taste after company collapse

Kathleen and John Mahoney from Sugar and Spice Bakery were stung after the collapse of Cantro Pty Ltd and are still owed money.

Supermarket operator collapse leaves sour taste for bakery

Open for inspection homes May 25-31

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!