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Truffles, a Winter highlight on the Great Ocean Road

Roderick explaining how truffles grow under ground under the oaks on his farm.

Roderick explaining how truffles grow under ground under the oaks on his farm.

Roderick Poole’s Truffle hunt and Truffle degustation meal was a highlight of our year so far and a life ambition realised for both of us.  It seemed an impossible dream to actually see how truffles are grown and harvested, and Roderick delivered it beautifully (without us having to get onto a plane and fly to France).

About 25 locals and visitors gathered in the kitchen of Roderick’s homely Wongarrra farm, half way between Wye River and Apollo Bay for a welcoming truffle on soft boiled egg, a cup of coffee and a talk by the amazing Michelin star French chef, Romu.

Romu has worked in Paris but is now sharing his skills and passion for French food in Australia. He has published a truffle book so is the right man for today. His explanation of how truffles are best used in a variety of dishes was wonderful and inspiring. Later we had his full seven course degustation meal, wow,  to die for.

Romu explaining how to cook with truffles. We had 7 small courses including ice cream with truffles.

Romu explaining how to cook with truffles. We had 7 small courses including ice cream with truffles.

But first we joined Roderick in the Oak grove seeing how truffles are harvested.  Riley, the clever rescue Border collie who has been trained for truffle hunting did a magnificent job. He  sniffed around and and then suddenly would drop with his paws showing the exact truffle location and sure enough, there it was, the black lump (often called Black Diamonds because they are expensive) with the enticing aroma.  Within a few hours Roderick had unearthed several kilos ranging from as small as a pea to a whopper the size of a potato, weighing almost 200gm!

Riley the truffle hunting dog

Riley the truffle hunting dog

After the hunt we had a tour of the farm, a model of healthy food production and a panoramic view of the coastline.

Back at the long festive table, we indulged in course after delicate course based on Truffle created by Romu.  Our favourite was the 6 hour slow cooked beef cheek.  The Pinot Noir from the local Gosling Ck winery was a perfect complement.  We followed our noses through the 7 course guide complete with recipes and and at a whim we could visit Romu in the kitchen at the other end of the big space and watch him in action, focused, and with a sense of humor for the observers.

Wongarra Farm oak trees with truffles underneath

Wongarra Farm oak trees with truffles underneath

Roderick is planning to make these regular winter events but we lucked in to be at the inaugural Truffle hunt and meal.  5 stars Roderick and Romu!

Roderick is offering weekly Truffle hunts on the farm each Sunday at the moment, check here for info – http://wongarrafarm.com.au/truffes-a-la-ferme/

 

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