The ultimate foodie event, the Canberra Region Truffle Festival 2018 is an annual celebration of the rare Black Winter Truffle.
More than 250 tasty events this winter will explore the magic of the Black Winter Truffle. They include degustation dinners, dishes at cafes, truffle hunts, cooking classes, demonstrations, farmers markets and more.
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1 June – 31 August 2018
Various venues around the city and region
Truffles in the Canberra region
Sometimes referred to as the “diamond of the kitchen”, truffles are a fungus that grows underground when the roots of particular trees such as oaks and hazelnuts have been infected with a mycorrhiza (or fungus root).
Originally confined to the wild, research during the past 100 years, particularly in France, has led to truffles being cultivated as a domestic crop.
The Canberra region produces the Black Winter Truffle or Périgord Truffle (T. melanosporum) which forms in summer and slowly matures during autumn. When they are ready to harvest in winter, truffle farmers find the fungus using dogs that have been specially trained to detect truffle aroma.
Taste and aroma
The taste on the tongue can be sweet, sour, bitter, salty and “umami” (savoury), but the aroma in the nose can be much more discriminatory: musty and sweet, a very intense mushroom overlaid with other notes including “forest floor”.
Truffle flavours and aroma enhance and intensify those of other foods. For example, a steak with truffle sauce becomes meatier, eggs are transformed into a gourmet item, and every aspect of the meal becomes more satisfying.
Don’t be fooled about the aroma of truffle oils! This has been redeveloped by chemists and what you’re smelling is ‘Truffle Aroma’, not truffles.
Cooking and storing tips
Truffles are seasonal, and fresh is always best! They go well with simple dishes involving eggs, mushrooms, chicken, pasta, potatoes, risotto, Jerusalem artichokes, and celeriac, and also in sauces. Always shave truffles as thinly as possible because the greater the surface area, the greater the aroma.
Truffles are best stored in the refrigerator in a large jar, each wrapped in paper towel and should be used within three weeks. If yours grow some white mould, brush it off under running cold water, then dry and place back in the jar and fridge.
Try storing them with fresh eggs so the truffles infuse the yolks with their aroma. Truffles can also be preserved by snap freezing, but this process will reduce the aroma and mean you have to use or shave your truffle while it is frozen because thawing will make it rubbery.
This information has been kindly provided by the Canberra Region Truffle Festival which takes place during the Australian truffle season (June to August).
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