It’s no secret that truffle season is one of my favourite times of the year. Those little pungent, black gold nuggets seem to make their way into so many of my dishes during the cold winter months and the last two years have seen me make the retreat down to Manjimup for Truffle Kerfuffle with some of my girlfriends.
With time flying so quickly by this year, the season has just arrived and it feels like only yesterday I was shivering my butt off down at Fonty’s Pool, with mugs of hot chocolate and scrambled eggs laden with shaved truffle keeping me warm. Now this year’s festival is almost upon us, taking place 23-25 June with a pretty impressive lineup of chefs and activities.
With Paul West from River Cottage on board this year, Petition’s Jesse Blake running the show for the Saturday night dinner and a Southern Forests barbecue feast with Amy Hamilton – it all sounds like festival goers this year are in for a real treat. I’m happy to see David Coomer is back on board for a truffle hunt again this year, because that was one of the highlights for me in 2016.
To celebrate the upcoming festivities, I was invited to attend a breakfast showcasing the first taste of the truffle season at Petition Kitchen using Genuinely Southern Forests produce and black truffles by the Truffle & Wine Co.
Drinks included lustre sparkling chardonnary pinot noir from Pemberley of Pemberton and apple & quince sparkling juice by New Leaf Orchard. Both beautifully satisfying offerings from our south. I enjoyed a cheeky tipple while listening to Alex from the Truffle & Wine Co and David Coomer talk about the life of owning a truffle farm before Petition’s Head Chef Jesse Blake talked us through what to expect for our three course breakfast (yes you heard that right!).
First up was the creamed rice with Chirimen pumpkin loaf soldiers, Karri honey, Oak Valley hazelnuts and truffle. Cold and creamy, this was such a decadent but surprising dish. With the rice and truffles taking prominence on top, digging through revealed a ginger snap layer with gooey mandarins underneath.
We dunked our toasted pumpkin loaf soldiers in the mix for a different approach – and this was well spiced, crisp and comforting. To be honest the food could have stopped here and I would have left completely satisfied. But then I saw what was on for our next…
A stunning main dish of chopped CharCol Springs pastured eggs with truffle butter poached marron, Jerusalem artichoke with Salad Rose potato focaccia, feta and onions, and black truffle came to the table – and there seemed to be an awed silence that followed. Marron on any day is a treat, let alone for breakfast, so I was in heaven.
Delicate meat, buttery eggs, and of course those earthy, rich truffles. Did I love it? Hell yes I did.
For our third course we were treated to Bannister Downs Dairy ricotta cannoli with compressed Bravo apple, fresh lemon myrtle and black truffle. For this one we each took them home for a daytime treat – and it definitely hit the spot when I got peckish again in the afternoon.
It’s meals like this that remind me how beautiful truffles really are (not that I ever forget). Western Australia produces the largest quantity of black truffles in the southern hemisphere thanks to our cool climate and ideal soils, and so I love hanging my hat on how popular Manjimup truffles have become. They’re exported all around the world: and we have them at our doorstep to enjoy during winter.
Whether it’s in a decadent spread like I was treated to, or just simply shaved over roast potatoes… truffles are a decadent experience and I will be eating (more than) my fair share this season. And I hope you all get to too, plus head down to Truffle Kerfuffle. It really is a guaranteed good time away – one for foodies or those happy to be a part of the experience.
Note: Beautiful photos included in this post are courtesy of Rebecca Mansell… the not so good ones sadly are mine! My camera definitely wasn’t participating on this occasion. But how gorgeous are Rebecca’s – they definitely came in handy.