Winter is truffle season in Canberra and with the kick-off of the annual Truffle Festival, people are going truffle mad! Here are the top five reasons why you should get involved.
1. The annual Canberra Truffle Festival is incredible
The annual Canberra Truffle Festival is a winter highlight, promising fun, food and foraging. In its 10th year, this festival brings in visitors from interstate and overseas all looking to a get a slice… or two, of the famous black winter truffle that is native to the region.
With over 250 events running from June to August, there really is something for everyone. Whether you want to hunt for them, learn to cook with them or simply just eat them, this festival celebrates the seasonality of this special ingredient.
Truffle Fact: The Canberra region is home to more than 80 native species of truffle but only a small handful are of culinary value.
2. You can hunt for truffles yourself
Don your gumboots and brave the chilly winter air for a truffle hunt. There are numerous farms across the region that open up their truffle hunts to the public, including Turalla Truffles and Blue Frog Truffles. You’ll get to join the local farmers – and their truffle dogs, on a hands-on experience around their grounds as they search for and unearth these treasured gems.
Don’t miss the Blessing of the Truffle Dogs at Tarago Truffles. It’s a tradition that takes place to wish a safe and prosperous truffle season ahead. While these dogs may be incredibly cute, they also play a vital role in sniffing out the truffles which are ready for harvesting.
Want to bring your own pooch along for the weekend? The Mercure Canberra offers dedicated pet-friendly rooms with access to an enclosed garden. Let the Mercure Canberra spoil your pup with a Pampered Pet Package including pet bedding and food bowl, a complimentary gift for your pet to take home and a full buffet breakfast or room service breakfast for two people.
Truffle Fact: Truffles only remain fresh in the ground for 12 days so it’s imperative that farmers have a truffle dog with a good nose.
3. Local restaurants put on great seasonal menus
For a real paddock-to-plate experience then be sure to try some truffle dishes in the local restaurants. While Canberra is a foodie destination throughout the year, it really shines during truffle season.
Attend the Truffle Festival degustation at Benchmark Wine Bar or enjoy an evening of truffles, jazz and wine at The Courtyard Restaurant at the Mercure Canberra, you can even try truffle infused beer at BentSpoke Brewing Co.
The Courtyard Restaurant is also running a special truffle season menu including scotch fillet topped with seared king prawns and truffled butter for main and a truffled honey & vanilla crème brulee for dessert.
First Edition Bar and Dining at Novotel Canberra is showcasing their own special truffle dishes throughout the season, which highlight different methods of truffle usage. These specials are updated weekly, with June’s selection including truffled risotto zucchini blossom, pecorino and poached quail egg – so keep your eye’s peeled for July’s specials.
Truffle Fact: Truffles require the ground temperatures to drop to a certain level a number of times just before they ripen.
4. There are plenty of great cooking classes to choose from
Want to learn how to cook truffle dishes as good as the ones you tasted in Canberra? The best way to master the art of truffles is by attending a local cooking class. Westfield Woden is running a Truffle Market Day during the festival which is jam-packed with live cooking demonstrations, market stalls, tasty truffle samples and kids’ activities. However, if you’re looking for more of a hands-on experience then enrol in one of the many cooking classes that are running throughout the festival – the best part is the feast after the class where you get to try all the great dishes you cooked.
Truffle Fact: Truffles are said to taste like a mixture of chocolate and “earth” and smell like nutmeg.
5. It’s a great opportunity to buy them fresh
Now, we know you’ll be sad once your visit to the truffle festival is over, but the good news is you can take a piece home with you. While these little nuggets of gold may be a tad expensive, a little goes a long way. Whether you shave it into potato mash, scrambled eggs, pasta or risotto – truffles can make an average dish extraordinary.
Need a little inspiration? We’ve put this simple truffle pasta recipe together for you, that is sure to wow any dinner guests.
Truffle Pasta Recipe
- 250g of fresh or dried fettuccine or tagliatelle
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 65g of truffles, shaved
- 100g of grated parmesan
- 50g of butter
- Boil the pasta in a large pot, according to the packet instructions,
- Melt the butter in a pan and add the garlic and ½ the truffle shavings,
- Drain the pasta and add it to the butter and truffle, mixing well,
- Add salt and pepper, to taste,
- Top with the grated parmesan and remaining shaved truffle
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