There were truffles galore, as truffle aficionados mingled with the region's truffle growers, chefs and winemakers for the launch of this year's Truffle Festival at 3seeds Cooking School at the Fyshwick Fresh Food Market yesterday morning.
Now in its 8th year, the Truffle Festival - Canberra Region is the first and largest of its kind in Australia. This year, there are more than 250 events on the program - truffle hunts, truffle lunches, truffle degustations (including a Gala Dinner at The Conservatory Restaurant, and evenings at Pulp Kitchen). There are truffle cooking classes at 3seeds and Foodish, truffle seminars, truffle tastings, and a literary event with Rodney Dunn from the Agrarian Kitchen in Tasmania - who has just published a truffle cookbook.
Festival spokesperson and truffle grower, Damian Robinson of Turalla Truffles, said the local industry is making its mark, with demand continuing to grow for the region's 'black gold'.
'Canberra region truffles are sought after Australia-wide and across Asia because of their unique characteristics and deep perfumes brought on by our cold winters. We are the fourth biggest truffle region in the world, and growing,' Damian said.
'The NSW truffle region, which includes Canberra, is the largest in Australia, after WA. This year, we are expecting to harvest up to half a tonne of truffle from the Festival region. We have such a high quality product right here on our doorstep. Where else would you find a productive truffle industry so close to a capital city?'
ACT Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, noted that the area's truffle industry and the Festival are well positioned to entice the bevy of tourists expected when the first international flights start from Canberra to Singapore and Wellington.
'The Truffle Festival showcases the Canberra region as a tourist destination during the truffle season, and puts a spotlight on winter food culture,' he said.
Andrew Haskins, award-winning chef and owner of 3seeds Cooking School, delighted guests at the launch with platters of truffled honey-baked figs with truffled brie; divine pillows of butter puff pastry filled with mushrooms with had been marinated in truffled oil; and delicious truffled sticky date puddings with truffled butterscotch sauce. I will be sharing a couple of Andrew's recipes in an upcoming article, so please watch this space.
There was also truffle topped cheese pizza - prepared by Deli Planet, together with oysters with truffle mornay and the most exquisite truffle salt-cured kingfish prepared by chef Daniel Keogh, from C Seafood and Oyster Bar.
The Truffle Festival - Canberra Region is held from June through to August 2016. For more information and a full calendar of events, visit the web site. Come and visit Canberra!
The Good Things team is genuinely delighted to spread the truffle love and showcase the Truffle Festival - Canberra Region. We have been invited to attend a range of the events on the program and would like to thank the organisers and venues for their generous hospitality.
Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.