Posts Tagged ‘mundaring’

13
Aug
2012

Mundaring Truffle Festival 2012

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Another wonderful Truffle season is soon coming to an end. With every smile that accompanies the turn of the seasons from Winter to Spring, there is a corresponding sigh as there is nothing quite so satisfying as being fortified from a cold night outside by hearty food, robust wine, and intoxicating truffles…

The Mundaring Truffle Festival has become a staple event of my winter for quite a few years now, and this years was no different. I trundled up the hill to Mundaring on Saturday morning, expecting to have my ears and nose frozen off like normal, but instead found myself basking in the warm winter sun all day long.

Such a lovely way to spend the day tasting all the goodness on offer from stall after stall packed with truffle goodness.

After being greeted by the charmingly hirsute Earl of Maynooth (He was a character from a Sherlock Holmes novel, and I didn’t really get the connection, but he was a lovely man) we were pointed in the direction of great coffee courtesy of Re from European Foods. Coffee situation sorted we strolled down the boulevard of temptation and sampled their wares. Truffle infused pork dumplings from Jumplings, truffle risotto from Il Paiolo, Rabbit Spring rolls with truffle from Creative Catering, Beef ribs and morcilla from El Asador, a truffled apple tart from The Loose Box, and probably a bunch of others I’ve forgotten.

Perhaps my favourite part of the day however, was heading back into the kitchens for the truffle masterclass run by Guillaume Brahimi, Alain Fabr├Ęgues and Emmanuel Mollois. The three French chefs were at their finest on stage. Hamming it up and generally trying to outdo each other in raw Frenchness.

Alain was preparing a scallop entree, Guillaume a beef cheek main, and Emmanuel a tart tartin as you probably don’t know it.
So whilst they were out the front explaining the technique on stage, a small team of chefs were in the kitchens preparing the meals for the packed house of truffle fans.

Led by the head chef of the soon-to-be-open Bistro Guillaume at Burswood, alongside chefs from The Loose Box and Bistro des Artistes it was a formidable line up.

I did my best to stay out of their collective ways while scallops were sauteed rapid style, sauces and purees were blitzed and brought up to heat, and slow cooked meats were taken out of sous vide cocoons and slid onto plates with piping hot jus. Then virtually every plate finished with lashing of freshly shaved truffle.

If i hadn’t eaten earlier I probably would have died in that kitchen. A giant basket of truffles was carted around the pass tables and the smell of each successive truffle being shaved was enough to send my porcine senses into overdrive. I fortunately managed to keep it under control (ok, one or two scallops may have gone missing), and did my best to look respectable as the masters each took a turn of inspecting their respective dishes as they were being plated.

Then a small army of eager faced young wait staff marched dish after dish out to the tables. The flurry of excitement and energy lasting 20 minutes and then subsiding briefly til the next course was due to go out.

Many thanks to the Shire of Mundaring and the organisers for continuing to put on quality events year after year, and I look forward to my seasonal truffle treat next year all the more.

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14
Aug
2010

The trouble with truffles

Truffle risotto arancini

Is that you can never afford to eat enough of them.

The above photo is what became of some left over truffle risotto made at the Slow Food Perth food piazza stand during the 2010 Mundaring Truffle Festival, and comprise perhaps the most expensive arancini (recipe below) the world has ever seen.

The festival was a big weekend. I personally stirred 24 kg of truffle risotto into existence, and have a right arm the size of Popeye to prove it. I would have loved to be posting lots of other photos of amazing truffle goodness from the festival but spending most of my time in the Slow Food Perth tent I didn’t get to annoy as many people with my camera as I have in previous years. Idle hands and all that, it was probably for the best.

It was an interesting event anyway, with a who’s who of local Perthonality chefs bringing their kitchens up to the festival to wow ever growing crowds of gourmet food fans with their wares.

I enjoyed the variety of foods and some of the amazing things people has created (Emmanuelle Mollois’ truffle macaron for one) and it’s always interesting to see the looks on peoples faces when given the opportunity to try truffles for the first time. “So that’s what it tastes like!” is the common theme.

Personally that’s the best thing about the festival for me. Seeing people who would never have had a chance to try truffles presented them in a way that’s affordable and accessible, so they can make up their own minds as to whether they’re worth $3000 per kg or not.

Slow Food Perth did a fantastic job over the weekend. With a tent to educate kids about food (where apples originated, the history of wheat and how to make fresh pasta), and in the food tent Terra Madre delegates were cooking up a storm. Turning out pizza, mushrooms and porchetta from the wood fired oven and truffle risotto, polenta, and Blackwood Valley beef rolls with truffle butter.

Hopefully next years event can keep hold of the organic community roots that made it such a unique event on the Perth food calendar.

...Riso CarnaroliAdam on polentaArm workMushroom girlSlow Food PerthSlow Food Perth stallHermanoWarren of Blackwood Valley BeefPorchettaSecret lives of critics talkTruffle risotto arancini

Truffle Arancini (or regular arancini)

First I should say that you should never make a risotto solely to turn it into arancini, unless you’re a caterer or a sadist (arguably the same thing) it’s just a waste of good risotto. If however, you are already making risotto, just use a little more rice and end up with more than you need, that way you can enjoy your risotto and have a guilt free path to arancini left overs the next day.

So to make truffle risotto arancini above you basically take a whole pile of cold truffle risotto, some small balls of bocconcini or fresh mozzarella, flatten a layer of risotto onto the palm of your hand, place a piece of cheese in the centre, and wrap the risotto around the cheese. Then roll it into a ball, dip it into a beaten egg, and roll it in breadcrumbs.

Shallow fry in olive oil or deep free in vegetable oil til golden brown, then drain onto absorbent paper and leave to rest so you don’t burn your mouth off when you try to eat one.

The result should be a delicious crunchy exterior and a cheesy truffle risotto interior that gently coats your mouth with goodness.

09
Jul
2010

Truffle season

Asparagus / poached egg / truffle

Yes that’s right folks. Whilst it may also be duck season, and rabbit season. It is now most importantly truffle season ! As the weather cools and the rain falls, you can take some comfort in the fact that those little nuggets of earthy goodness have been slowly growing in their special funghi like way for the past year (or 6 or 7 years perhaps) and are now ready to be harvested and savoured.

W.A is fast becoming a truffle haven it would seem. With the Mundaring Truffle Festival going from strength to strength each year, and Manjimup truffles being joined by Pemberton (The Stone Barn has just harvested it’s first truffles), and others in the works. It’s a boutique industry success story.

I picked up a little truffle at the Perth edition of the Good Food & Wine Show last weekend. It was from the Manjimup Wine & Truffle company who currently supply most (if not all) the black truffles you find in restaurants and gourmet stores across the country. Apparently the little 15gram piece I bought had been harvested the day before, and was vacuum sealed with a little padding for maximum freshness so it would still taste as strong as it did when it came out of the ground.

I like to do as little as possible to truffles. I think their uniquely pungent flavour should be the star of any dish they’re added to, and my lack of finesse when deal with fancy ingredients tends to lend itself to simple classics.

As such, the two dishes I made with this truffle were: Asparagus / Poached Egg / Black truffle, and a very simple truffle risotto with scallops.

My egg poaching method these days involves boiling water, white wine vinegar, and then just dropping the egg directly into the water without swirling or wrapping anything in cling film. The secret to the beauty of this is using really nice fresh eggs. The eggs I had this time were sourced from a stall at the Subi Farmers Market, and based on shape and consistency alone were obviously far superior to the supermarket eggs I’ve dealt with in the past.

Manjimup truffle risotto with scallops

The risotto was made using a chicken / rabbit stock as the base, and a little milk added along the way. I got the idea for the milk from Vince Velletri who used a similar method to cook the risotto for the Slow Food Perth lunch at the Mundaring Truffle festival last year. I was responsible for stirring about 10kg of rice that went into one massive pot and the memory still sticks in my head. The idea behind the milk is really just to mellow the flavours of the onion etc in the base so that the truffle has more poignancy in the dish.

The rest was simply frying some scallops in butter for 20 seconds or so on each side, and then shaving what was left of the fresh truffle over the top.

Served with a Bellarmine 2004 Riesling, it wasn’t a bad meal at all.

Really looking foward to the upcoming Truffle Festival at the end of this month, and you should all get up there and check it out.

03
Sep
2009

Mundaring Truffle Festival : Slow Food Perth

Slow Food Perth - Truffle LunchSlow Food Perth - Truffle Lunch

Truffles are not just for culinary elitists and food wankers. That was hopefully the message put across by Slow Food Perth’s down the road lunch at this years Mundaring Truffle Festival held a few weeks back. Of course if you call yourself a culinary elitist or frequently get called a food wanker, then you’ll also fit right in.

Being a Slow Food Perth member, and sometime committee meeting attendee, I was very proud to see such a great response to the lunch from people of all walks of life, interested in trying some truffles for themselves in a setting that isn’t necessarily anything to do with haute cuisine.

Slow Food Chef extraordinaire Vincenzo Velletri once again crafted a simple, honest, but delicious meal based around the now famous Manjimup Black Truffles, which the festival celebrates. We started with truffled bacalau (salt cod) balls, then bruschetta with truffled mushrooms and roast capsicum, moving onto an epic truffle (stirred by these very arms) risotto with shavings of fresh truffle over the top.

The main dish for the day was a whole wood oven roasted pig, boned out and stuffed with herbs and more truffle shavings. It was served with oven roasted potatoes, mushrooms, and a roast capsicum salad. A truffle sauce, a sprig of rosemary, and another good shaving of fresh truffle over the top completed things.

Finally poached pears with a berry sauce and truffled cream finish what was a wonderful meal. Though not one I actually could partake in. As a committee member I was up the back, stirring risotto, shaving truffle, taking photos, getting in peoples way, and generally making a nuisance of myself. Whilst this mean I couldn’t sit down and enjoy the meal in the comfort of the marquee, what it did let me do was create the mother of all staff lunches.

truffle pork sandwich poached pears

A thick piece of fresh bread, layered with roast pork, crackling, truffled gravy, and shaved black truffle over the top. Not too shabby a snack by any stretch of the imagination, and perhaps one of my favourite truffle experiences to date.

It was a great day, and thanks to the many volunteers it came together nicely. Overall I was very impressed with the whole festival, which to me did a lot to further the appreciation of truffles and the burgeoning industry in WA around them, to the general community. There were many options over the course of the weekend for people to smell, touch, and taste truffles in a way that didn’t cost them the earth. Be it a truffle risotto or a pizza with truffle shavings.

It’s definitely the kind of event I enjoy going to, In a beautiful setting up in the hills with locals and travelers all enjoying something new and different.

Make sure you book your tickets for next years lunch, and make time to check out the festival yourself. Also do check out Aun’s fantastic blog over at Chubby Hubby. He’s based in Singapore and made it down to the truffle festival recently too. His photos and words are a wonderful summation of the event.

Slow Food Perth - Truffle LunchSlow Food Perth - Truffle LunchSlow Food Perth - Truffle LunchSlow Food Perth - Truffle LunchSlow Food Perth - Truffle LunchSlow Food Perth - Truffle LunchSlow Food Perth - Truffle LunchSlow Food Perth - Truffle LunchSlow Food Perth - Truffle LunchSlow Food Perth - Truffle LunchSlow Food Perth - Truffle LunchSlow Food Perth - Truffle LunchSlow Food Perth - Truffle LunchSlow Food Perth - Truffle LunchSlow Food Perth - Truffle LunchSlow Food Perth - Truffle LunchSlow Food Perth - Truffle LunchSlow Food Perth - Truffle LunchNot too shabby a snack.Slow Food Perth - Truffle LunchSlow Food Perth - Truffle LunchSlow Food Perth - Truffle LunchSlow Food Perth - Truffle LunchSlow Food Perth - Truffle LunchSlow Food Perth - Truffle LunchSlow Food Perth - Truffle LunchSlow Food Perth - Truffle Lunch
13
Aug
2008

Mundaring Truffle Festival

Manjimup Black Truffle Very Fancy Egg and Truffled Soliders

Truffles… those precious little nuggets of earthy goodness that are fought over by pigs, dogs, and gourmet food lovers. There is nothing quite so revered in the world of haute cuisine as this ruddy little gem, though apparently only 0.05% of the entire population of Australia has ever tried one.

Making some effort at remedying that fact, is the Mundaring Truffle Festival, held in (wait for it) Mundaring (up in the hills of Perth). This was the 3rd year the Mundaring Truffle Festival has been held, and my first visit to the hills in a long while, to partake in the spectacle that only the truffle can create.

The festival was initially the brainchild of Alain Fabregues, French chef extraordinaire and owner of the renowned Loose Box restaurant who is as creative as he is entrepreneurial. He was a part of introducing truffles to Western Australia, and has been a very strong advocate for WA to become as famous for truffles as it has for wine.

What the box says Very Fancy Egg and Truffled Soliders * * On the Slow Food soapbox Shannon Bennett stirring Truffled mushroom consomme and truffle twist Shannon Bennett Trio of Truffled Bruschetta Vincenzo Jamie Truffle Polenta Pauline doing her angry face Lamb spezzatino with Truffle Sauce on Truffle Polenta The Sly Wine Lover * Black Gold A bag of earthy extravagance * Slow Food lunchers wobbly goodness Manjimup Black Truffle escape is imminent a delicious downfall 
My day started with a master class by none other than that orchestrator of all things magical in Melbourne, Mr Shannon Bennett. Head chef of Vue de Monde, and also restaurants in the Sultanate of Oman, and soon Singapore (in case you didn’t know, which I didn’t either). Shannon had been invited over last year to share his love of truffle and its preparations with us lowly mortals, and was back again this year for more of the same.

The whole event was sponsored by lots of umm, sponsors. They plied us with wine at 10:30 in the morning and gave us lovely brochures to look at while we waited for the show to begin.

Shannon strolled out looking like he’d had a hard night. Or perhaps a hard life. Most likely both. I’m not sure what it is about him, but the man does not look healthy. I think he’s developing a serious hunch from bending over too many pans of simmering sauces.

I do however, like his food. His commitment to absolute excellence in everything he does, and his ability to pronounce French words without putting on a ridiculous Franglais accent (Something Toby Puttock would be wise to take note of).

Shannon Bennett shaves truffles

So the dishes he prepared, were a mushroom consomme infused with truffle, fennel, more mushroom, onion, and a few other things. It was infused using the Cona coffee maker vacuum method that he’s fond of in the restaurant. It was served with a truffled pastry twist and a young Riesling.

He then followed it up with perhaps the fanciest egg on toast I will ever consume. A cep (mushroom) puree infused with truffles, laid at the bottom of a carefully cut egg shell. With a ‘confit’ egg yolk on top, that he made by very gently heating a single egg yolk in warm oil for a few minutes til it went gelatinous. To dip, nothing less than truffled soldiers. And not skimping on the truffles either. Thick pieces of bread rolled in egg and copious amounts of truffle and then fried. I may have died a little on the inside after that one. Knowing it will be a few and far between experience.

Afterwards Shannon hang around for a bit to sign his book, and after a quick handshake and a ‘yeh good onya’, I was on my way back to the main arena.

Next on the agenda was the Slow Food ‘Down the road’ lunch. I’m still not sure why it was called ‘Down the road’… as It was way up the road from where I came from. But that was all rather inconsequential in the end. [Edit: Jamie says it was called Down the road because all the produce for the lunch was sourced locally]

The chef for the day was once again Vincenzo Velletri. Master of more rustic Italian dishes that I know exist, and one of Slow Food Perth’s previous ambassadors to Terra Madre. On the menu was a list of simple dishes which have had the added lift that only fresh truffles can give.

We started with a trio of bruschetta with truffled toppings. A truffled pate, truffled mushrooms, and tomato and onion… with truffle (I think).

We then moved on to a wonderful truffle polenta. Dutifully stirred by Slow Food Perth co-leader Jamie Kronborg to a wonderful creamy consistency. Over the top was a lamb spezzatino (stew) with truffle sauce and (wait for it) fresh shavings of truffle.

So much truffle… it was enough to drive a man to drink. As our cunning aged wine loving companion
helped himself to a specially smuggled in treat, we grabbed a bottle of Myattsfield Cabernet Sauvignon. One of my favourite wineries in the Perth Hills district and makers of some fine drops.

* a delicious downfall

To complete the meal, it was that old classic, in all it’s wobbly glory, the vanilla bean pannacotta.
This incarnation was sitting atop a truffled syrup and ordained with a single perfect slice of shaved truffle on top. This was probably my favourite dish of the entire day.

The subtle earthy pungency of the truffle and the sweetness of the pannacotta melding into a wonderful array of flavours right across my palate, which If I close my eyes and tilt my head to the side in an oddly reflective way, I can still taste.

Which until next years season comes around again, is exactly what I may have to.