Now it’s time to spice it up (Truffle beer)

Advertising Feature 25 July 2012

Ok, at this end of the Festival we’re getting the hang of the truffles-and-food, and truffles-and-winematching thing. The big issue is now making sure that restaurants add enough so you know what you’re eating. We figure that will come, all it takes is for you to say “Where’s the truffle?” when you’re underwhelmed by the effects of the black fungus in your meal. If your friends laugh and point at all the black bits splattered across your plate then please be nice and go “Oh, I wondered what that was”. But we know it is a learned appreciation, you didn’t like brussels sprouts when you first tried them (some of you still don’t!), but we know you have to get enough of the good fresh stuff when you first try it, to know what to look out for.

A lot of what you taste is actually what you smell, even the aromas that are released when you chew go to the receptors ‘up your nose’ to dictate what you think the taste is. Hold your nose when you eat a banana, pretty yucky eh? So warm foods tend to release the truffle smells and they’re good ones to start experimenting with. Shaved on mash potato, risotto, scrambled eggs, mixed with butter on a steak or chop.

Some uses of truffle however depend on its qualities as a natural ‘glutatmate’, (garlic is a natural glutamate as well). Then the truffle smell is minimal because of the prolonged heat of cooking or infusing and it just increases all the flavours. And that’s what happens with the Wig and Pen’s annual truffle homage, a truffle and spice infused ale. And Richard Watkins the Brewmaster tells you all about it in this video.

We’re very European focussed for most of our dinners, and we know that there are some great overseas Japanese and Chinese restaurants doing things with truffles, but we’ve been struggling to encourage those restaurateurs here. But we were really pleased to see this late Festival partner application. On Sunday 29 July there’s another truffle and spice event that I can’t even imagine how they’ll mix. The Flavours of India restaurant in Phillip is holding a Spices and Truffle dinner that sounds amazing, featuring dishes like Spiced lentil and truffle, Tandoori lobster tail with truffle smoked eggplant custard. The full menu is here ( and Chef/Restaurateur Vikas Randev is to be congratulated on a new direction for the local fresh black truffles (although I notice that one dish has the dreaded truffle oil listed). It’s all matched with good wines and for just $90 pp. Hurry only 50 places are available. Bookings Phone 6260 5441 or 0433 043 183 or

The RiotACT has two free seats for this dinner the first person to email the Indian name for truffles will be the lucky winner!

UPDATE : Congratulations to Peter who got in first with Guchchhi


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