Last year they held over 350 events across the truffle season. This year they are focussing on "Truffle Paddock to Plate", so there are Truffle Hunts to watch the dogs sniff them out, cooking demonstrations to explain how you can cook them, as well as degustation dinners to enjoy them in a variety of ways cooked by Canberra's best chefs.
Photos courtesy of the Truffle Festival website from 2014.
Truffles start off as little hair-like fibres attached to the root of a tree. The tree takes nutrients from it and in return the tree provides the truffle with sugars. They grow the trees far enough apart so that grass can be grown underneath and the sun can get to the earth. The truffles can take a few years (or longer) to grow in the right climate. In Australia they are grown attached to oak and hazelnut trees as seedlings and the truffles grow up with the tree.
At this time of year (June to August) the frosty conditions are perfect for dogs to sniff out the particular sugar smell and dig up the truffles.
If you would like to watch the process of the dogs sniffing for the truffles there are numerous places around Canberra to view this. Depending on the farm you choose to go to, they may provide a meal at the end at a local restaurant or give you the option to buy some direct from the grower.
There are truffle hunts at Macenmist Black Truffles and Wine in Bredbo (87km south of Canberra), Turalla Truffles – Bungendore (half an hour from Canberra), Tarago Truffles - Tarago (50 minutes east of Canberra), French Black Truffles of Canberra – Mt Majura (10 minutes from Canberra airport), Yelverton Truffles – Robertson (2 hours from Canberra) and Blue Frog Truffles - Sutton (20 minutes from Canberra).
As the farm owners need to keep their truffle patches "clean" of contamination they ask visitors to the farm to follow a few instructions. They ask for your clothes to be freshly laundered, to scrub your shoes the night before to remove particles of soil from the treads and make sure all backpacks, handbags and any other personal items have been scrubbed (to remove any dirt or seeds there may be inside).
The Canberra Truffle Festival has degustation meals, cooking shows and dinner events throughout the next couple of months.
In July, events include truffle dinners at Sage Dining Rooms (Gorman House), Cooking classes at Foodish Belconnen, Truffle cooking demonstrations at Westfield Woden and Belconnen, Truffle dinner at Pulp Kitchen with matching wines, Truffles Canapés & Clonakilla Event at University House, Verve Cliquot Truffle Dinner at the Hyatt Canberra…to name only a few.
In August, there will be cheese and wine events at Mount Majura Vineyard, Truffle hunts with wine tasting and lunch, Degustation dinner at Chifleys Bar and Grill, 7 course Degustation Dinner at The National Press Club, Truffle dinner at the Southern Cross Yacht Club in Yarralumla…..also to name a few.