Winter conjures images of cosy fires, red wine, and hearty food but according to Dianne Bortoletto, the best thing about winter is that it’s truffle season.
Take a day trip to Manjimup, the heart of Australia’s Truffle country, to indulge in this prized delicacy and you’ll discover an amazing food bowl.
Manjimup is nestled among hundreds of hectares of national park and is the centre of a diverse, thriving fruit and vegetable industry. Local growers produce everything from avocados, cherries, plums and kiwi fruit to hazelnuts, brocolli, and potatoes. It is renowned for the internationally famous Pink Lady apple and is home to world-class gourmet black truffles.
What are black truffles?
The black truffle (tuber melanosporum) is prized for its rarity and beguiling aroma. More than 80 percent of premium black truffles produced in Australia come from the Southern Forests. As the largest producer in the southern hemisphere, the region has secured its place on the global culinary map. The black truffle retails for $2000 per kilogram – no wonder they are referred to as ‘black gold’!
Their taste and aroma are quite tricky to describe but some liken them to ‘gourmet mushrooms’. They have pungent, intense, earthy, unique characteristics and are used in extremely small quantities in cooking.
The Australian truffle season runs from June to September with an annual event held in Manjimup in June to kick it off. The popular event brings people together from all over the world to showcase the region’s export quality rare black winter truffles.
Truffle Kerfuffle June 22 – 24
Truffle Kerfuffle is one of Australia’s most unique food and wine festivals. Pack your boots and rug up as you prepare to go truffle hunting and uncover an amazing festival of food and wine in the heart of Australia truffle country; Manjimup Western Australia. You’ll be in good company, since this is the epicentre of truffle production in the southern hemisphere.
Uncover an amazing weekend of food and wine in this hands-on and adventurous winter festival. Get to know the truffle dogs, visit the festival village for a taste of the region and get your truffle fix at exclusive dining and masterclass events.
Headlining names in the mix with top West Australian chefs include Guy Grossi, Mark Best, Sam Aisbett, Scott Brannigan, Marianne Lumb and Bruno Loubet.
Co-festival director and food journalist Max Brearley said that the chefs announced in the Truffle Kerfuffle line-up are united by their love of and expertise in using fresh truffles. “The talent this year is amazing – from London to Singapore, Sydney to Melbourne, these chefs are all experts in using Manjimup’s finest export.” Max said.
Melbourne-based chef, Guy Grossi, renowned for his iconic Italian eateries and new Perth hotspot Garum, will bring a taste of Rome to Manjimup. Guy will be kicking off this year’s festival with Feast & Fire on June 22, a long table celebration of the truffle season.
Discover winemakers, producers, and community, or of course you can just soak up the atmosphere.
Hunter’s Breakfast: 10am June 23 and June 24
A Winter’s Night: 7pm June 23
Chef’s Cabin Series: June 23-June 24
Festival Village: June 23-June 24More info
Eat your way across the Southern Forests
It’s home to over 50 different types of fruits and vegetables, truffles, nuts, wine, gourmet products, beef, sheep and dairy farms as well as extraordinary culinary experiences to tempt your tastebuds – but it’s one of the least known regions in the south west.
The Southern Forests’ climate and environmental influences allow farmers and producers to grow crops during the warmer summer months, advantageously contra-seasonal to many other food producing regions.
Responsible for producing a much wider variety of produce than other regions, the Southern Forests produces 50 percent of Western Australia’s apples, 70 percent of Australia’s avocados (October – mid February), 90 percent of Western Australia’s broccoli crop (mid December to mid May), 85 percent of the Southern Hemisphere’s black truffle harvest, and almost all of Western Australia’s marron production.
The Southern Forrest Food Council is charged with promoting the high quality produce that comes from the area. It represents local producers, culinary and agri-tourism operators who live and work in the region, with a goal to ultimately establish the Southern Forests region as an internationally-recognised top culinary tourism destination.
There’s a four day Food and Farm all-inclusive tour providing visitors with a unique opportunity to meet genuine farmers in the pristine Southern Forests of Western Australia and truly experience where good food comes from.
All images: Jessica Wyld
This blog has been adapted from an article written by Dianne Bortoletto entitled ‘Field Trip’, which was originally featured in Your Margaret River Region Magazine’s Winter Edition.