Three winter truffle festivals
Author: Jared Richards
Photography: Rob Shaw
This winter, trufferies Australia-wide are putting their finest fungi forward from June to August at the Truffle Festival Canberra, Truffle Melbourne and the Truffle Kerfuffle festival in Manjimup, WA.
Dedicated to the Périgord truffle - also known as the black winter truffle - the festivals explore the intricate flavours that make truffles one of the most expensive and sought-after produce in the world. Look forward to truffle hunts, dégustation dinners, masterclasses and chances to talk all things black gold with chefs and local farmers.
The Truffle Festival, Canberra region
For the eighth year running, four trufferies across Tarago, Bungendore, Bredbo and Sutton will host hunts you can join as both growers and trained truffle dogs search and sniff through their paddocks to trace the scent of the Périgord truffle hidden underground. Afterwards, enjoy a lunch that will make the most of your Périgord pickings of the day, or test them out yourself by taking them home. If you'd prefer to leave it to the pros, restaurants including Italian & Sons, Mezzalira and the Conservatory Restaurant will have truffle-dedicated menus on offer throughout the festival.
For those short on time, the Westfield Market Truffle Days held on 25 June and 23 July are mini-festivals condensed into one day. Featuring cooking demonstrations, tastings, truffle dog meets and the chance to buy truffles direct from growers, the markets are an easy way to learn from Australia's top truffle farms and taste their produce.
The Truffle Festival runs from 3 June to the end of August
throughout the greater Canberra region. Tickets for events and the
full line-up are available on the festival's website.
Truffle Melbourne, Vic
Held throughout the city and at regional Victorian trufferies, Truffle Melbourne spreads dinners, truffle hunts, and cooking masterclasses across the harvest season.
Highlights include a weekend pop-up at Red Hill in the Mornington Peninsula from 15-17 July featuring a truffle trail tour and a three-day mini-festival at Melbourne's Prahran Market over 17-19 June. The free mini-festival includes mock truffle dog hunts, a family friendly Friday night, truffle market stalls and chef demonstrations from Guy Grossi and Philippe Mouchel.
Truffle Melbourne will run from the beginning of June to the
end of August. Ticketed events like the masterclasses or the Red
Hill weekend, are on sale Thursday 5 May.
The Truffle Kerfuffle, Manjimup, WA
Held on the 24-26 June and presented by Genuinely Southern Forests, the sixth annual Truffle Kerfuffle will bring together chefs from across Australia for a weekend of intimate classes, discussions and dinners in the Southern Forest region of Western Australia, where more than 70 per cent of Australia's truffles are harvested.
The Kerfuffle kicks off with an opening night party sure to shake off the winter chill - Africola chef Duncan Welgemoed and Fervor's Paul Iskov are planning an open coal fire feast. A slew of chefs will cook black truffle breakfasts, lunch banquets and dégustation dinners over the three days, including Amy Hamilton (Liberté), James Viles (Biota Dining), and Kiren Mainwaring (Co-op Dining).
The chef's cabin will host talks and interactive open-fire cooking demonstrations over the weekend - there are only 20 seats at each event, so it might be an idea to book now.
If your stomach can't trust your eyes around three-days of non-stop truffles, tours through the forests or a 4WD tour to the coastline will offer a chance to step back and enjoy the Southern Forests for their scenery as well as their produce.
The Truffle Kerfuffle is held at Fonty's Pool, Manjimup on the 24-26 July 2016. Tickets for festival entry, camping or deluxe "glamping" accommodation, and each event are on sale now (and going quick). trufflekerfuffle.com.au