23 June 2023

It's truffle time! Chief Minister launches 15th annual truffle festival

| Lucy Ridge
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Two women pose next to truffle festival signage

Lorraine Flanagan (L) of EAT Truffle Collective and Christine Ellis (R) of Southern Harvest Association. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has launched the 2023 Truffle Festival at an event attended by truffle growers, food groups and media representatives at East Hotel.

This year the activities of the 15th Canberra Region Truffle Festival are being auspiced by local farmer collective Southern Harvest Association (SHA). SHA committee member Christine Ellis welcomed attendees to the Friday 23 June event and spoke about the role of truffle growers and producers in the Canberra area.

“We’re so proud of the local produce in our region and the events of the truffle festival are such a wonderful way for our community to come together,” Ms Ellis told Region.

“Truffles are really just a little bit of luxury when we need it most in the middle of winter.”

canapes with truffles

Truffled blinis from Agostinis at the launch of the Truffle Festival. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

The chief minister described the truffle festival as “a mainstay of our region’s winter events calendar”, and said that even though his pipes had frozen during the recent cold snap he was taking the cold weather as a positive sign that truffle season was here.

Many of Australia’s truffles are exported overseas to European and Asian markets but local growers are working to educate Australian consumers about this luxury product.

Canberra’s climate mirrors some of the best truffle growing regions of France and Italy, which makes it the ideal location for producing these nuggets of “black gold”.

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The proximity of the nation’s capital to the truffle farms offers many opportunities for creative collaborations with Canberra’s chefs, restaurants and local foodies.

Truffle growers are hopeful that the activities of the truffle festival will increase local interest in truffles. Ms Ellis encouraged local foodies to head out on a truffle hunt to learn more about “what makes truffles tick”, and hopes that local chefs will get involved in showcasing this unique ingredient.

Truffles under glass cloche

Truffles were the star of the show at the launch. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

Lorraine Flanagan is one of the directors of Eastern Australian Tablelands Truffle Farm Cooperative (EAT Truffle), a collaborative group of truffle growers in the local region. Her advice when it comes to eating truffles is to keep it simple.

“Truffle butter, truffle cream, truffle eggs: there’s so much you can do by infusing truffle into these simple ingredients,” she told Region.

The Truffle Festival runs across the length of the truffle season. Anyone running an event that involves truffles is added to the calendar of festivities, whether it’s a truffle hunt, a truffle-infused menu or a truffle-themed dinner.

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East Hotel – which hosted the launch – will have truffles as part of the winter menu at Agostinis Italian Restaurant, including a truffle pizza and a vegan cauliflower dish that has reportedly excited even the most committed carnivores.

To celebrate the launch of truffle season they served canapés of truffle blinis, ricotta and truffle tarts and even sweet profiteroles filled with truffle-infused cream.

Southern Harvest Association will also be featuring truffles at their Winter Feastival in Bungendore on 1 July. More details about this event and the other events of the truffle festival can be found on their website, or follow Southern Harvest Association on Facebook or Instagram.
Visit the EAT Truffle website for more information on truffle producers in our region.

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