Friday, July 15, 2011

Ode to Truffles

For Mum and Dad, who are going to find truffles in the paddock at the bottom of the hill any day now (and for Leo who is trying his hardest!)..

We were fortunate enough to get a couple of seats at the latest Fringe Food Festival event this week - a truffle tasting dinner!  Very disappointed to miss the first one, and just so excited that they ran a second night!

Why so excited?
About 8 years ago I helped Mum and Dad to plant a few trees in the bottom paddock of the farm in NZ.  Small sticks which were barely visible except for the stakes holding them up, we didn't really care if they grew tall or straight - we were more concerned about the roots, which hold the perigord truffle fungus.
Any day now Leo, the world's coolest sniffer dog, is going to stop in the middle of his daily walk, and point at a patch of ground, and show us where the goods are hiding.  And Dad will probably have a heart attack.

These things are black gold.


And I'm a little embarrassed to say, I'd only tried them once before last night's dinner!

Dinner started fresh, and lively:


Boneless chicken wings (I have no idea how, but they were worth any effort required!) with a kick of lime, NSW truffle and squid-ink.

The next course was rich, warm, and wintery:


Soft polenta on buerre blanc, with a poached egg, a  hint of parmesan, and Tasmanian truffle.


(This was my favourite.  I'm drooling just looking at the pictures!)

And then the height of simplicity:


Hand-cut pappardelle, with king brown mushroom and butter, topped with Western Australian - you guessed it - truffle.

The objective was to see if we could pick the regional differences, so to finish we were given three plates of scrambled egg, with each of the three truffles, to see if we could pick them.


The differences were surprising - though I'm not sure I could pick these if they were not side-by-side.

Thanks to St Ali for hosting us (and for being a very comfortable couple of blocks walk from home!) Ed of Tomato blog for letting his many readers know about the event, part of the "Fringe Food Festival".  Scott Pickett cooked up a storm, and did a great job of putting the focus on Madame Truffles  We also had the pleasure of sampling Crittenden Estate's Los Hermanos Tributa a galicia, and The Zumma pinot noir (recently awarded 94 points by Gourmet Traveller and ranked the fourth best pinot noir in Australia).

Thanks to the lovely folks we shared a table with, for making it a memorable evening:


Now, no pressure Leo - but we're waiting...