27
Jul-2016

Truffle hunting near the Blue Mountains

Lowes-Mount-Truffiere_Col1

Follow your nose to this truffle farm in the Greater Blue Mountains region for a unique foodie experience.

It’s a cold winter’s morning and I’m out in a field at Lowes Mount Truffiere (pronounced troo-fee-air) in Oberon following farm owner Col Roberts and his big black Labrador, Morris, along a neat row of hazelnut and oak trees. The dog weaves around, peeing on things, nosing the air and sniffing the ploughed-up soil; then he stops and casually paws the ground. He’s found one.

Col kneels down and digs a little deeper, bends over and sniffs. “This one’s got a really sweet smell,” he tells the gathered crowd. “Extra grade, for sure.” He dusts back the soil with his gloved hand and uncovers a small brown ping-pong-ball sized clump. That dirt-covered jewel is worth about $300.

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Sniffer dogs … Morris (left) and Floyd help Lowes Mount Truffiere owner Col Roberts find truffles.

The perigord black truffle is passed around. One whiff and my senses explode. It’s this complex, pungent aroma – slightly off, but so intriguing – and the flavour that comes with it that has spurred this group of about 20 to drive for hours (one-and-a-half hours from the Blue Mountains, three hours from Sydney) to stand out in the cold today.

That’s the thing about truffles – the depth of flavour hits the senses from all angles, leaving you wanting more.

But mushroom hunting is not all we’re here for: it’s the promise of a truffle-themed lunch to follow that’s got our mouths watering.

Lowes-Mount-Truffiere_grading

Good enough to eat … Col assesses the quality of our truffle haul as Sue Roberts (in the red jumper) explains the truffle grading system.

There are two hunt-and-lunch options offered at Lowes Mount Truffiere during truffle season, which runs from June to August: the Sunday hunt and lunch – a four-course meal at $170 per person, which this degustation fan would have loved to partake in, but due to the presence of two little humans could not; or the Saturday hunt and hamper at $90 per person.

Read: Mushroom picking in the Blue Mountains

We did the truffle hunt and hamper option, which involves a one-hour hunt followed by lunch in the on-site dining room, featuring truffles direct from paddock to plate, as well as preserved truffle products.

Lowes-Mount-Truffiere_hamper

Our platter was a degustation in itself, beginning with a cup of hot celeriac soup atop which Col’s wife and farm co-owner Sue grated lashings of freshly picked truffle. Next was the sourdough – with truffled pork terrine and cranberry jam for starters, then goat’s cheese and brie with truffled honey and hazelnuts. But the highlight, for me, was the truffled panna cotta.

Not normally a panna cotta fan (something to do with the monotony of texture and flavour) I was dubious, but this particular panna cotta was something else entirely – every mouthful as intense and unique as the next.

That’s the thing about truffles – the depth of flavour hits the senses from all angles, leaving you wanting more.

Lowes-Mount-Truffiere_truffles

Diamonds in the rough … The price of truffles is determined by quality and weight.

Sue and Col have done such a great job with the truffle hunts and lunches offered at Lowes Mount Truffiere. It was a genuinely excellent experience. Learning about the science of truffle farming then watching how the gold-digging was done made the meal that followed all the more enjoyable.

How can you book for 2017?

Keep an eye on the Lowes Mount Truffles website – ‘hunt and lunch’ dates for 2017 will appear on the home page at the beginning of January, and bookings are made through the site via email. The lunches sell out by end of February, so be sure to set yourself a New-Year’s-Resolution reminder to book.

And if you can’t wait till then for a truffle fix, fresh and preserved truffle products can be purchased through the Lowes Mount Truffles website, or at the Oberon Farmer’s Market.

Happy hunting!

Check out my other recommended experiences in the Blue Mountains.

  • Address: 927 Lowes Mount Road, Oberon, NSW 2787
  • Phone: (02) 6336 3148
  • Web: lowesmounttruffles.com.au
  • Licensed: No; BYO wine.
  • Bookings: Through the website via email
  • Wheelchair access: Call to discuss
  • Payment: Bank deposit

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