Weekend work is part and parcel to many people’s careers including mine and unfortunately this sometimes does result in being unable to attend weekend festivals and other events. The Mundaring Truffle Festival has been one of those missed events for me for several years running so when I realised this time round I had the Sunday rostered off, I jumped at the opportunity to book us tickets. I also bought us entry into one of the ticketed events called “The Truffle and the Riesling”.
Unlike last year where I heard the weather was absolutely atrocious resulting in much of the Festival becoming flooded, this year we couldn’t have asked for anything better. With the sun shining gloriously in a clear blue sky the morning chill dissipated quickly under the warming rays of sunshine. It feels like we are nearly into Spring!
Our first stop was at Rochelle Adonis’s stall where Rochelle herself informed me that on the previous day they had completely run out of their “truffingtons”; a richly truffle flavoured lamington. She had rushed back to the studio that night to make more which of course also sold out very quickly. Unfortunately for me they were not gluten free so although I arrived early enough to buy some I did not get to try any for myself. For my review of Rochelle Adonis’s High tea click here.
For our ticketed event Chef Dan Sharp from Greenpool Restaurant at Forest Hill Vineyard showed us how to cook up a couple of mouth-watering trufflicious dishes. The first dish was a macadamia, herb and truffle crusted Albany Dhu fish served with Endeavour prawn crushed potatoes. I had advised the event manager of my gluten free requirement in advance and was assured that the menu was fully gluten free. Unfortunately it turned out that I was misinformed and the dish that we were served had panko crumbs on the fish. One of my friends kindly alerted the presenters whereupon the chef offered to make me a gluten free piece of fish himself.
However in all the distraction of cooking to a crowd, my fish never came and I was served a double quantity of the side dish sans fish. The Boy informed me that the fish was flaky, soft and very enjoyable. The side dish of crushed prawns and potato was divine and we were lucky enough to receive a copy of the recipe. The second dish was dill and truffle buttered Denmark Marron served with a shaved fennel, mustard leaf, hazelnut and truffle salad. What a shame we didn’t get to taste this one, it smelt so good from the audience!
Heading back into the Festival grounds with a strong appetite for more truffles, we were in for a feast of mammoth proportions! Starting at the Great Southern Truffles stall we started off with purchasing some pungent truffle oil, truffle salt and truffle mustard for those who couldn’t attend to enjoy at home. It was too hard to pick just one!
The Oak Valley Truffles stall was serving tender soft braised Harvey Beef ribs with horse radish cream and shaved truffle. These ribs were dripping juicy and richly flavoured. A definitely highlight of the day. We also bought some truffle butter which we had with our dinner later that night.
The Loose Box tent was a popular one, with most sample dishes priced at a reasonable $5. Between the four of us we shared one of each: the duck pate, some truffled brie and a truffled apple galette.
The eating frenzy did not stop there. We moved onto the Linley Valley Pork stall where the boys from Mondo’s and In Contro were cooking up a storm. Aromas of their pork cassoulet wafted across the festival and made it impossible to not want to buy a few tasting plates.
The servers were well informed on gluten free options and guided my choice to the cassoulet….which to be honest my sense of smell had already convinced me was the best option. I had to be a little careful negotiating the onion contained within it but regardless it was hearty and warming.
The Boy and my other friends all tried the pork sausage wrap. The meat was very juicy yet not too fatty and the subtle flavour of truffle brought this simple street food to the next level!
With the taste of Oak Valley Truffle’s amazing beef ribs still hovering on my palate, I stopped to grab more ribs to share from El Asador. Unfortunately these ribs just didn’t compare and were very sinewy and chewy. We were actually unable to eat some at they were too tough and needed a good steak knife to be cut up with.
At this point, my taste buds were craving something a bit sweet and seeing Jean Pierre Sancho I dashed over to grab everyone a macaron. Now JPS doesn’t exactly do the BEST macarons, but they aren’t too bad either. They have all the right elements of flavour; they just never seem to get the textures right as I find the outside always lacks that crisp shell. Perhaps it is hard to get them fresh enough to events like this.
We had nearly done our dash when I saw the Jumplings stall and after hearing such excellent feedback from all the Urban Lovacore customers on Twitter I convinced my friends to buy some. I enquired to the chef that was busy cooking and preparing the Jumplings if he had any desire to cater for the gluten free market. To my surprise this was already a work in progress for him and he was currently looking into trialling recipes to perfect a gluten free pastry! I wait with baited breath!
Filled to the brim with truffliciousness we escaped the crowds and headed to the Mundaring Weir Hotel. Gathered in the setting sun on the steps in front of their amphitheatre; it was so relaxing to relax back and digest all the gourmet delights over a bottle of wine with friends. We were joined by someone’s adorable Golden Retriever who was happy enough to stay with us provided he got a bit of a cuddle. After a couple of hours and several drinks later, hunger started to hit us once again and the Boy went into the cafe organise us some light nibbles. To my complete disappointment I was informed that there was nothing at all that they could serve me gluten free. After further questioning they reluctantly agreed to make me a garden salad without the dressing. I guess I will think twice before returning here as I do like to enjoy food with my wine just like anyone else!
The Mundaring Truffle Festival is held every year in Mundaring in July. For more details join their mailing list at www.mundaringtrufflefestival.com