Truffle Hunting in Canberra
Rug up for a wintery experience in the oak forest on Canberra’s only trufferie, and you’ll be rewarded with the jewels of the kitchen: truffles.
We were delighted to visit French Black Truffles of Canberra, a locally-owned family business that’s exponentially growing in size. They specialise in exclusive truffle hunts allowing you to fully experience what it’s like to work on a truffle farm and learn all about the elusive and indulgent truffle.
Our day started with multiple layers of thermals, jackets scarfs and gloves, and after a hearty meal of truffle filled food the night before we were shivering with excitement (and possibly the 1°C temperature) to get the hunt started. Pulling in, we met in the heated truffle shed with Jayson to discuss everything we needed to know about truffles, the dogs and the process of finding these little black gems. We were also treated to a delicious potato, leek and truffle soup which warmed our insides before venturing out onto the field.
Once we were on the walk-about, Jayson introduced us to the gorgeous Nala, a five-year-old chocolate Labrador, who’s enthusiasm for the hunt and loving and playful nature brought a smile to everyone in the group. After the meet and greet was over it was straight to work for Nala. Jayson spoke the command “Go find them!” and in seconds Nala was racing around the paddock, nose up, searching for that irresistible truffle aroma.
Within minutes Nala stopped and sat next to a tree. As we rushed over Jayson asked Nala “where is it?” to which she responded by adorably placing her paw on a certain spot on the ground. Getting low to the ground Jayson started carefully digging, after each scoop he sniffed the soil making sure the truffle aroma was there. After a little more digging he carefully removed what I could only describe as a lump of dirty coal.
Truffles vary in size from size of a grapefruit to the size of a golf ball. The outer layer appears crusty and black in colour. However it’s appearance indicates nothing of its true value, selling at somewhere between $2,500 – $3,000 per kilo. As I took the lime sized lump in my hand, I was hit by the most intoxicating aroma to man. If you’ve ever smelt truffles imagine how aromatic they are fresh out of the ground. Having to control myself from sticking it straight into my pocket I begrudgingly passed it on to another member of the group and continued on.
We did this several times over the course of the day finding about 6 or 7 large truffles. A job well done, we bid farewell to Nala and retreated from the cold back to the truffle shed for a small chat about how to clean, grade and store truffles, and for the opportunity to buy them. As a parting gift to a fantastic morning we each got a truffle infused egg.
If you love truffles, or if you’re just curious about how they are grown and hunted, we would definitely recommend doing this. The whole experience lasts for roughly an hour with the opportunity to buy a few of the black gems after.
The truffle season in Canberra runs from early June to late August.
French Black Truffles of Canberra
Ruffles Estate, Mount Majura Road
Majura, ACT 2609