We attended courtesy of Black Cat Truffles and Visit Ballarat.
7 degrees and raining.
Not really optimal conditions to be out and about wandering along rows of trees on a farm. But when the truffles are calling, you can’t do much about the weather.
One recent Sunday found us in the car, gumboots and our warmest clothes packed, on the road to Creswick to Black Cat Truffles to take part in a truffle hunt. Upon arrival we were immediately greeted by the extremely friendly and affectionate Ella, one of the truffle dogs.
Black Cat Truffles started about 7 years ago, and is run by Lynette and Andres who fell in love with the idea of growing truffles after visits to Tasmania and France. Taking a chance, they purchased a block of land near Creswick and ended up planting 1000 trees – English oak and French oak – inoculated with the truffle spore.
We were told that it was back breaking work to plant all those trees – they planted about 400 in one weekend.
The rain didn’t let up, but we still managed a walk around the farm.
Lynette gave us a demonstration of how they normally find truffles – Ella runs ahead and whenever she scented a truffle in the ground, she’d mark it by patting the spot with her paw, and then sit back and wait for a reward. Lynette would then dig where Ella indicated.
It’s not a 100% success rate though: when we were there many truffles weren’t ripe yet, or they were rotten (such a shame!).
Last year they harvested less than a kilo of truffles, the year before it was nearly 3kg, and this year it looks like they might get 5kg. As you can see, it’s a very variable business and definitely more of an art than a science.
After spending an hour outdoors in the cold and pouring rain, we headed into their newly constructed trufferie to warm up and have a bit of sustenance. We sipped on some lovely soup with shaved truffle.
Ate some truffled D’Affinois.
And even had some truffled ice cream (yes it does work).
I also purchased a small piece to take home (not this one!) which – since we have discovered that Alastair doesn’t really seem to like truffles much – was mostly all for me. (I enjoyed it shaved over risotto and also made the MOST EPIC cheese toasted sandwich.)
And here’s a couple more photos of Ella because she’s so cute.
After leaving the truffle farm, we took the opportunity to pop into the Creswick Woollen Mill. You might be wondering why. I have one word for you: ALPACAS.
At the Woollen Mill, you can FEED THE ALPACAS at 11am or 2pm (ask at the counter and they will give you some food).
While we were there they also had baby alpacas (chias) and we got to pet them. The brown ones were so soft! They’re so lovely.
Truffles, Ella AND alpacas. It was a very good day.
View Off the spork in a larger map
Black Cat Truffles
150 Howards Road
Wattle Flat VIC 3352
Phone: 0403 394 144