The weatherman didn't need to tell me that it was minus 3.9 degrees C in Canberra on Sunday morning. I could feel it in my toes. It might be a wee bit nippy, but winter is shaping up beautifully.
What with whisky, chestnuts, truffles and the like to celebrate the winter months, I'm certainly not complaining!
There are beverages to be enjoyed...
A dram of hot buttered whisky will warm you from head to toe on a chilly winter's evening. You'll find the recipe here. I first tasted this divine beverage at Whisky Live in Canberra, the world's premiere whisky event.
Sally's Dabinett hot spiced cider was a deliciously warming starter served with freshly roasted chestnuts outdoors on the deck at The Conservatory Restaurant at Ginger Catering's La Dolce Vita dinner one evening last week.
And delicious things to eat...
Chestnuts are available from greengrocers and farmer's markets across Canberra and the region.
The delightful Alison Saunders and Richard Moxham, Canberra residents and growers of walnuts and chestnuts at Sassafras in the Budawang Ranges, north east of Canberra. They served hot roasted chestnuts at Ginger Catering's La Dolce Vita dinner at The Conservatory Restaurant.
Chef Janet Jeffs presented diners with a veritable feast at the recent La Dolce Vita dinner at The Conservatory Restaurant at the National Arboretum. The amuse bouche comprised a morsel of her own rare Dexter beef atop a bamboo charcoal crouton, served with a chestnut soup shooter, beetroot, Sassafras walnut and feta.
Truffled brie is an exquisite winter treat. It can be ordered ahead from The Truffle Farm in Canberra... or you can make it yourself with local truffles.
There are old friends to catch up with...
A dear friend, the lovely Anne Sturgiss from Tarago Truffles, says, 'Your truffle will have maximum flavour and texture if you shave it over warm food just before serving. The resulting sensory experience of aroma and flavour is to die for.'
Janet Jeffs is the Executive Chef and Director of Ginger Catering, Sprout Cafe and The Conservatory Restaurant at the National Arboretum in Canberra. Jeffs is an innovative chef who is dedicated to good food. She lives on a heritage property at Ballalaba near Braidwood, where she raises rare breed beasties, such as Dexter cattle. The Truffle Festival Gala Dinner will be held at The Conservatory Restaurant. Image by Peter Hislop courtesy Ginger Catering.
Chef Andrew Haskins from 3Seeds Cooking School loves working with our local truffles. He has been a creative leader in the industry striving for excellence in both himself and future chefs, and generously shares his wisdom, opening his kitchen to the public for hands-on cooking classes. There is an excellent program of truffle cooking classes at 3Seeds throughout winter.
'We are lucky to have a truly productive truffle industry so close to a major city,' says Damian Robinson from Turalla Truffles near Bungendore, a short drive from Canberra. Damian is hosting truffle hunts and hunt and cook events at Turalla Truffles.
Denzil Sturgiss, grower from Tarago Truffles, enjoys the afternoon sun under the trees. His truffiere in the Tarago-Bungendore area of the Southern Tablelands has some 4,500 trees. Denzil and his wife, Anne (pictured in an image further up), are hosting the Blessing of the Truffle Dogs and a selection of truffle hunts on their property.
Jayson Mesman and his truffle dog at The Truffle Farm in Canberra - the only trufferie in the world in a capital city. For that reason alone, it is well worth a visit. The Truffle Farm is offering a smorgasbord of truffle hunts and truffle events during the season. Photo courtesy Jayson Mesman.
And new friends to meet...
Truffle pigs, Winnie and Piglet at The Truffle Farm in Canberra. I can hardly wait to meet these gals. Photo courtesy Jayson Mesman.
Frisbee the truffle dog from Turalla Truffles, pictured as a pup at the Blessing of the Truffle Dogs in 2015. A fiesty little hunter, I am looking forward to chasing Frisbee around the farm.
Best of all, at day's end we can snuggle close and put up our feet...
For more information about winter in Canberra and all the good things on offer in my home town, go to the Visit Canberra web site; and The Truffle Festival Canberra Region web site (which has links to all the events and venues). For information about Whisky Live Australia, visit the web site. Click on some of the images in this post for more information about each one.
It's your turn... tell me, is it winter in your neck of the woods? Are you loving it or loathing the cold? And have your added Canberra, Australia to your list of places to visit during winter?
Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
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- Liz Posmyk
NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.