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Pine smoked duck breast.

Everybody’s Trufflin’: 10 ways to enjoy the The Truffle Festival

Amanda Whitley

What is it about these little black spongey looking things that make foodies go crazy? They may not look like much, but French black or Périgord truffles pack a flavour punch, and are so prized there’s a whole festival devoted to them!

The Truffle Festival – Canberra Region is in full swing and set to extend until early August, with more than 250 individual events held across a region spanning more than 200km wide. There are gourmet degustation dinners, truffle dishes at cafes, pastries, cooking classes and demonstrations, wine tastings and matchings, farmers markets, truffle hunts and more.

We’ve got 10 ways to enjoy the Festival – whether you’re a dedicated gourmand or keen to taste some truffle-y goodness for the first time.

1. Hunt them down!

Willow watching as Jayson carefully digs up her find.

Every weekend from the end of June to early August, you can join the growers and their dogs on the hunt for truffles at local truffières (that’s a truffle growing farm).  Most of the hunts are on Saturdays and Sundays, and some farms are willing to organise private hunts at different times.

The itinerary and price for each hunt varies so you can choose a hunt at a time and budget that suits you.  All hunts include a detailed talk about truffles as well as the opportunity to get out in the field and help find truffles.  Depending on the hunt you choose, there may be a warm dish with truffle at the end of the hunt or you may move onto a local restaurant for a delicious truffle lunch.  You’ll usually have the option of buying some truffle from the grower at the conclusion of the hunt.  You’ll need to bring cash to most of these farms because out in the paddock, unsurprisingly, they don’t have card facilities.

Check out the hunts on offer and read Michelle Brotohusodo’s adventures at the Majura Valley Experience here.

2. Watch and learn

Not really quite sure what to do with these little gems? Pop along to one of the truffle cooking demonstrations being held every fortnight throughout the festival at Westfield Belconnen and Woden.

The demonstrations will be conducted by a diverse range of chefs involved in the festival including; Brendan Walsh, Pialligo Estate; Damian Brabender, Sage; Jack Walker, Pulp Kitchen; and Alaine Chanter, Foodish.

Check out the schedule of events on the Truffle Festival website.

3. Get into the kitchen

Feeling inspired but need a little more guidance before you give truffles a whirl in the kitchen? A range of Canberra cooking schools are inviting you to get hands-on  with this unique ingredient.

Find out what’s on offer at the Truffle Festival website.

4. Buy your own!

An A grade black truffle this size is worth about $250.

If you’re already seasoned in the use of truffles or haven’t yet had a chance to experiment with truffles in your home, Truffle Festival is the perfect time to get into it.

Grab yours fromMart Deli, Deli Planet, and Wiffens at 

Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets, 
Farmers Market at EPIC and 
Essential Ingredient, Kingston – they’ll all have fresh truffles available for purchase throughout the season.

Or you can buy direct from a grower. Give a grower a call and get your hands on the good stuff direct from the source – try Blue Frog Truffles, Terra Preta, Turalla Truffles, Canberra French Black Truffles, Tarago Truffles, Macenmist, Trufflegate and Yelverton Truffles.

Top tip? Make sure you reserve your purchase a week ahead – the growers who don’t have their own dogs use contract hunters and their busy schedule dictates the times that fresh truffle is available.

5. Say cheers to truffles!

marron

As part of the Canberra & Region Truffle Festival, Hyatt Hotel Canberra is once again holding their Verve Cliquot Truffle Dinner, featuring a six course meal perfectly matched with Verve Cliquot champagnes. That’s the Cream of Breton artichokes with truffles, freshwater marron from last year, above. Yum.

6.30pm Thursday 9 July at Hyatt Hotel Canberra. Bookings and pre-payment is essential. Cost is $195 per person. call 02 6269 8801 or register to go along.

7. Celebrate the truffle with Canberra’s best chefs

The Conservatory Restaurant ‘Chefs of Canberra Dinner’ has a star line-up, with Canberra chefs Ben Willis of Aubergine, James Mussillon of Courgette, Clement Chauvin from Les Bistronomes joining Janet Jeffs in The Conservatory Restaurant’s kitchen. Guest speaker Paul West, whose River Cottage Australia cookbook and TV series puts an international spotlight on Canberra’s food region, and truffier Sherry McArdle-English make this a showcase event.

7pm Thursday 23 July at The Conservatory Restaurant at the National Arboretum, Canberra. Bookings are essential. Cost is $95 pp.

8. Get your truffles with a side of cheese and wine

Truffled brie with matching Mount Majura wines.

Mount Majura Vineyard is offering a flight of three wines matched with truffled brie as part of their winter tasting experience.  They combine Small Cow Farm PetitVache, a deliciously rich and creamy brie style cheese, with truffles from their neighbour Sherry at French Black Truffles of Canberra.

Every week they’ll will be layering fresh truffles in the brie, giving them time to infuse into the cheese, ready for serving on the weekend. To accompany this they’re pouring a flight of three 80ml glasses of wine matched to the truffled brie. The tasting will be served individually and costs $25 per person, available on Saturdays and Sundays.

Available weekends from 13 July to 9 August 9Bookings essential – phone 6262 3070 or email [email protected]au

9. Enjoy truffles around town

Feeling hungry after all this truffle talk? You don’t need to wait for a special event… There are plenty of restaurants around town who are incorporating truffles in their regular menu, or holding Truffle degustations.

Check out where to find truffles around town at the Truffle Festival website.

10. Enjoy truffles for dessert!

frugii

For the truffle season, John Marshall aka Mr.Frugii is showing off the sweeter side of truffles, with Fresh Black Truffle Ice Cream, Verrines, Choux Pastry, and Chocolates. See items from the changing menu at www.frugii.com or check out Michelle’s ice cream above!

Find out more about the Truffle Festival from the Truffle Festival website!

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Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women. More about the Author

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