TO the true believers, and the good country town of Manjimup, truffles are rightly known as ‘black gold’.
This weekend Manjimup plays host to the annual Truffle Kerfuffle, a festival celebrating the South West town’s responsibility as the producer of more than 90 per cent of the nation’s fresh black truffles.
It’s the perfect chance not just to smell, taste, buy and learn about black truffle, but also partake in Southern Forests wine and fresh produce.
Those who make the trip to this weekend’s festival at picturesque Fonty’s Pool, just minutes from the land where truffles are unearthed, can enjoy free tastings, free cooking demonstrations, truffle dog demos, children’s activities, a chance to chat to producers, farmers and wine makers and live music.
Here’s some more information if you fancy getting among the festivities on Saturday and Sunday.
1. Manjimup is the largest producer of black truffles not just in Australia, but in the entire southern hemisphere.
2. The proper name for the black Perigord truffle is the Tuber melanosporum, which is prized for its rarity and beguiling aroma. The ‘black gold’ reference is a nod to the value of truffles, fetching prices between $2 and $3 a gram. Their season is short from June to August, but you only need a small amount to transform a dish from ordinary to sublimely extraordinary. Find out how from local and celebrity chefs during free demonstrations at the festival village, and buy your own to take home from the festival village marketplace.
3. Some places remain to take part in the quintessential truffle experience – fossicking through forests of hazelnut or oak tress with clever canines hunting for truffles. Check out options with truffle growers Oak Valley Truffles, Australian Truffle Traders or chef and truffle grower David Coomer.
4. It’s mostly all about the truffles, but kind of not. The Southern Forests’ pristine environment, rich loamy soils and crisp mornings produce wonderful fresh fruit and veg including avocados, finger limes, potatoes, apples (including the prized Bravo apple), pumpkins, persimmons and stone fruit – as well as milk, beef, marron and other food types.
5. Plenty more. From options for children, to truffle-inspired cocktails and donuts. Oh, and celebrity chefs, including Guy Grossi, who’s new Perth restaurant Garum is going great guns as part of the recently-opened Westin Hotel.
Date: Friday, June 22 – Sunday, June 24
Venue: Fonty’s Pool, Manjimup
Tickets: $35, from trufflekerfuffle.com.au