The secret life of truffles

Get it’s Kathleen Loxton sits down with Debbie Oliver, founder, owner and operator of Lady Truffle, to discuss fine produce and the world’s most sought-after ingredients

Kathleen: As a Gold Coast girl, who is passionate about community, fine foods and the Gold Coast’s dining scene, how did you get into the supplying business?

Debbie: After many years working in a corporate role, I needed to follow my moral compass, and it led to my passion and interest for food and dining. I researched the opportunity and felt the greater Gold Coast was ready for some unique and special ingredients, and service from a locally owned and operated supplier.

K: You supply some of the world’s finest ingredients, including rare truffle types, such as the Italian Alba.What’s the most challenging thing about dealing with such produce?

D: Refraining from eating it before it gets to the chefs and restaurants!

The mystery behind growing them, the thrill of the hunt, the indescribable aroma and flavour that sends many people weak at the knees…

K: Have you had to travel yourself to source international and local ingredients? If so, what’s been the most memorable trip?

D: I have been lucky enough to have spent almost 10 years of my life, before having a son, living and traveling in Europe and Asia. This gave me a wonderful insight into products and dining experiences, especially in Italy and France. As for the local ingredients, it’s so enjoyable visiting and meeting the farmers, and learning about their challenges, highlights and stories.

K: What’s the most important thing when choosing your ingredients for cooking?

D: I’m the first to admit I’m not the best in the kitchen, but I sure can make a mean reservation. Seriously, with my business and my son I’m generally time poor, so I like to keep it very simple and I choose ingredients that do the work for me. Fresh, seasonal, clean and packed with flavour. Essentials for me are lemon, garlic, tomatoes and onions. I have a real weakness for a buttery pasta with freshly shaved truffles, or pasta tossed with anchovies, roasted tomatoes and olives.

K: Your truffles are sourced locally when in season, and also internationally; including black and white truffles. What do you think people find so special about truffles?

D: Ahhh, the allure of the truffle. There is no other ingredient on earth like it. The mystery behind growing them, the thrill of the hunt, the indescribable aroma and flavour that sends many people weak at the knees… but, most importantly, it’s the conversations they start and the memories they evoke. Truffle lovers know exactly what I’m talking about.

K: The Gold Coast’s culinary scene is reaching greater levels of excellence every day! What do you find exciting about supplying to the Gold Coast?

D: Easy answer, the passionate foodies and chefs you meet, and the relationships you build. As they say, there is no sincerer love than the love of food – and who doesn’t love eating and talking about it?

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