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Everybody’s Trufflin’: The 2016 Canberra Region Truffle Festival

Beatrice Smith

Those who complain about the Canberra winter are about to reap the rewards during the 2016 Canberra Region Truffle Festival.

According to Damian Robinson, Canberra Region Truffle Festival committee member and owner of Bungendore’s Turalla Truffles, Canberra’s thick winter frosts allow the region’s truffles to gain a unique perfume unrivalled by the ‘black gold’ of other regions.

“To be fair I haven’t tried truffles from [WA],” says Damian diplomatically, “but our frosts are the coldest in Australia during the winter and it’s been proved that the frost matures the truffle and makes the perfume really pop.”

The Truffle Festival’s line up is bigger than ever this year, with activities ranging from tastings and dinners, to lunches, lectures, hunts and markets from June until August across a number of venues.

“The festival has been going for eight years now but the hype has just grown and grown,” says Damian. “There’s some program variations this year such as the truffle growing seminars and some ‘bring your own truffle events’ which we’ve never done before.”

“As a grower, having witnessed the Festival grow from the very beginning it’s become such a major part of the Canberra and that’s very exciting.”

Damian says that even though the festival has expanded each year, its biggest year is yet to come.

“I think it’s going to get even bigger next year,” explains Damian. “With the direct flights to Singapore starting September I think next year is going to be massive in terms of truffle tourism.”

“The amount of calls I get from Asia is crazy – I had a fellow call from China the other day looking to buy ten kilos of truffles a week.”

A huge boost in truffle tourism could be the perfect way to change Canberra’s winter reputation from ‘slow’ to sterling.

“The world is watching,” says Damian. “Canberra tends to think of itself as a little town of politicians that shuts down in the winter but I think it’ll be blowing right open in the next few years.”

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Damian says that Canberra’s truffles are already sought after Australia-wide due to their unique characteristics.

“There’s nuances in Canberra region truffles from farm to farm,” explains Damian. “And it really comes down to the chefs. We have chefs ringing myself and other growers from all over Australia looking for Canberra region truffles because they know our truffles have the deepest perfume.”

Damian says that the most important thing to remember when deciding which Truffle Festival events to attend this year is to try a range of different truffles.

“I’d just like to encourage more people to get involved,” says Damian. “If people haven’t tried a truffle, for god’s sake come and try one!”

“Get down to the markets and do a tasting, go to one of the Westfield events where you’ll be able to try truffles for free – there’s plenty events where you can sample a whole range of truffles for the first time.”

JUNE EVENTS 

Kick off the Truffle season with the Ginger Catering Gala Dinner at The National Arboretum on Thursday 30 June. You can also drop by Bentspoke in Braddon for a very special ’truffled’ beer, hunt for truffles at Blue Frog Truffles and expand your truffle knowledge at the Black Truffle and Hazelnut Growing Seminar at the Ibis Styles Eaglehawk. 

Find out what else is happening in June here

JULY EVENTS 

Warm up in the chill of winter by joining the truffle dogs for a hunt at Macanmist Black Truffles and Wine before exploring truffle themed market stalls and tasting stands at Westfield Belconnen on 23 July. There will also be decadent winter warmer events like the Pulp Kitchen Truffle Degusation on 10 July and a truffle cooking class at 3Seeds at the Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets on 13 July. Find out what else is happening in July here

AUGUST EVENTS 

August will be your last chance to experience the amazing truffles of the Canberra Region. There’ll be perfectly paired Truffle Dinner at Chifleys in Hotel Kurrajong, an elegant truffle cocktail soiree at University House and hunts happening at Turalla and Tarago Truffles. On top of this there’ll be truffle deliciacies like Truffle Pizza and truffle cheese on offer at the Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets in August. Find out what else is happening in August here

Images by Martin Ollman.

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Beatrice Smith

Bea loves that her job as HerCanberra’s Editorial Coordinator involves eating, drinking and interviewing people - sometimes simultaneously. The master of HerCanberra’s publishing schedule, she’s usually found hunched over a huge calendar muttering to herself about content balance. Otherwise you’ll find her at the movies, ordering a cheese board or ordering a cheese board at the movies. More about the Author

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