The excitement was palpable, despite the bitter cold, thick fog and mud that enveloped us when we arrived at Turalla Truffles near Bungendore one Sunday morning in July last year. Frisbee (pictured above), a key member of the team of trained truffle dogs, was there to greet us; together with property owners, Damian Robinson and his wife, Lindsay, and their daughter, Willa (pictured left, second image below).
One of the great joys of working in and around the world of food, as I have done for many years now, is that I have had the opportunity to meet, and spend time in the company of, some really awesome folks - farmers, food producers and chefs, as well as fellow cooks and food writers.
'What does truffle taste like?' a reader asked recently. Good question. 'Well, it's sort of earthy,' I replied. 'Yes, they grow underground, so I figured that. But what are they like?' she replied.
One of the highlights of the 2016 Truffle Festival Canberra Region is a Food & Words event, featuring a stellar lineup of speakers - including chef Rodney Dunn from The Agrarian Kitchen; food writer Barbara Sweeney; and academic and baker Dr Roger Haden - accompanied by a truffle-inspired lunch prepared by Canberra's own Sean McConnell, executive chef of Monster Kitchen & Bar at Hotel Hotel.
morsel [/ˈmɔːs(ə)l/] noun.
A small piece or quantity of food; a mouthful. Something very tasty and appetising. A treat or tidbit.
I poked my head outside for a moment this evening to check if Mars was visible in the sky, but all I could see was the fog coming out of my mouth and nose. It's bloody cold out there, which augers well for the region's truffle growers and the upcoming Truffle Festival - Canberra Region.
'What sort of soup are you making this afternoon, mum?' my grown up son asked. 'Leek and potato,' I responded. 'Oh yum, you make a really good one of those,' he exclaimed, making me smile. I could almost hear him smacking his lips together over the mouthpiece.
'Being a truffle can be disconcerting, as truffle is the domineering ingredient in dishes,' says Andrew Haskins of 3Seeds Cooking School. The leading Canberra chef (ex 'the fig') and cooking school owner is presenting a series of unique and informative hunt and cook packages during the truffle season.
'There are four basic food groups: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate and chocolate truffles.'
It goes without saying that I agree with Mr, Mrs or Ms Anonymous, who was made famous for that deliciously witty quotation. Certainly in the lead up to the festive season, I'm like a little squirrel, busy checking my larder to make sure that I have plentiful stocks of fine quality chocolate and locally grown hazelnuts.
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I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.