“Food, glorious food …” Oliver Twist and his famished orphan chums were right to deify the act of eating. And given the nation’s reverence for all things foodie it’s easy to understand the dramatic rise in food-related tourism.
According to a new report conducted by Luxury Escapes, more than half of Aussies surveyed (59 per cent, to be precise) cite food as their most important holiday theme.
Added to this is a recent report from the World Tourism Organisation, which reveals that the average tourist spends around a third of their holiday budget on food. It’s no longer just about eating out of necessity when travelling, it’s about exploring a destination through our tastebuds.
Enter truffle tours.
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The Truffle Hunt is having a boom in demand among Australian tourists. Picture: Supplied Source: wildfoodsitaly.comSource:Supplied
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Known as “black gold”, truffles are among the most sought after ingredients on earth. While these delectable fungi are usually associated with Italy and France, believe it or not, there’s a wealth of truffles grown right on our doorstep.
In fact, with some 300 farms scattered across the country, Australia has become the world’s fourth-largest producer of the most-prized type of truffle, the French black or perigord.
And with the Aussie truffle season in full swing (it runs from June to September), now is the time for hungry travellers to partake in the full paddock-to-plate experience – sniffer dog and all.
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Hunting for truffles is the ultimate paddock to plate experience. Picture: supplied.Source:Supplied
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From festivals and immersive hunts, to cooking classes and truffle-infused tasting menus, read on for ways you can get your own hit of the expensive subterranean fungi across five Australian states.
The bona fide truffle capital of Australia is the small town of Manjimup, situated east of Margaret River, WA. Accountable for around 85 per cent of our annual crop, the richness of the soil, along with the cool climate, make it perfect for growing the prized fine dining staple.
And the producer accountable for the lion’s share of the country’s perigord truffles is the Truffle & Wine Co. Now the largest single producer in the world, the sprawling trufferie is set to reopen its doors to visitors in September and comprises seasonal hunts, cellar door, store and restaurants which, unsurprisingly, features an array of truffle-infused delicacies.
Decked out with a dog, truffle hunting has become a foodie (and animal lovers) perfect pairing. Picture: David CairdSource:News Corp Australia
The region is also home to the yearly Truffle Kerfuffle in June, a sellout weekend-long festival that brings fans together from all over the world to showcase the region’s lauded truffles via a program of masterclasses, hunts, markets and, of course, plenty of eating.
Also home to another big festival on the truffle-lovers calendar, the region surrounding Canberra sees visitors gather for the annual Truffle Festival.
Running throughout the season (June to September), visitors can rug up and watch trained hounds sniff out black gold before savouring the flavours and aromas of heavenly truffle creations at participating local restaurants, cafes, bars and wineries.
Other events and experiences are on offer, include live cooking demos and pop up markets where you can buy fresh truffle to take home with you.
Experts say this season is set to be a good one for truffle hunters. Picture: Richard DobsonSource:News Corp Australia
One of the local truffle stalwarts are the family-owned Turalla Truffles. A 30-minute drive from Canberra, the farm takes guests through the process of finding truffles, followed by tastings, including (for adults) their homemade truffle-infused vodka.
With five truffieres less than two hours drive away from the Melbourne CBD is a legit gateway to truffle paradise. And though we’re only one month into the season, farmers are already reporting bumper crops, which means that the potential for basking in the heady aroma of freshly unearthed truffles is high. Enter Truffle Melbourne.
On until the end of August, this program of truffle-themed revelry takes place across venues surrounding the city. 2020 has seen the festival pivot from live cooking demonstrations to a newly-launched video series of demos featuring top chefs, but the truffle hunts remain, albeit with a spot of COVID-related social distancing.
We’ve embraced the farm-to-fork philosophy with a little help from these four-legged friends. Picture: Richard DobsonSource:News Corp Australia
You’ll be shown around by professional truffle hunters and their trained hounds. Picture- Nicole ClearySource:News Corp Australia
Taking place at working truffieres throughout the Daylesford, Macedon, Gippsland and Mornington Peninsula regions, hungry participants will enjoy joining professional truffle hunters and their trained hounds, alongside varying combinations of talks, tastings, and cooking classes. Tickets are on sale now.
We’ve embraced the farm-to-fork philosophy with gusto in our daily lives, so it stands to reason that when we’re in tourist mode we’re similarly inclined. Just as wine tourism is huge in NSW, the state is also seeing more and more travellers with a penchant for the finer things, pair their wine weekenders with a spot of truffle hunting and tasting.
In the NSW cool climate wine region of Orange, Borrodell Estate offer indulgence-seekers a working vineyard and cellar door, paired with a trufferie that also helps fuel an onsite restaurant.
Put on your boots and prepared to get a little dirty.Source:News Regional Media
Within the picturesque landscape, visitors can join hunts and – perhaps more importantly – enjoy the spoils via lavish dinners and lunches, including the jewel on the truffle season calendar at Borrodell: the annual Black Tie and Gumboot truffle dinner – a five-course degustation featuring freshly harvested truffles and matched wine.
An agricultural state, the Apple Isle’s natural larder has turned it into a playground for foodies, and this paddock-to-plate tourism boom can be see at its best on the Tassie truffle scene.
The birthplace of Australia’s truffle industry (Tasmania’s cool climate, pure air and water and fertile soil create the perfect growing conditions for black truffles) the first True Blue truffle was harvested here more than 20 years ago, when Tim Terry harvested a nugget of black gold from the rich soil of his Deloraine farm.
From paddock to plate, truffle hunting is the ultimate foodie getaway. Picture: William Meppem.Source:Supplied
The Apple Isle’s natural larder has turned it into a playground for foodies.Source:News Limited
Since then, Tasmanian Truffles have become the state’s premium producer.
These days, Tim’s kids – a brother and sister duo and former My Kitchen Rules contenders – have taken the reigns and are wowing travellers with seasonal truffle hunts, guided tours, workshops and gourmet tasting lunches.
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