Crisp Manjimup mornings and sunny blue skies attracted thousands to Fonty’s Pool over the weekend for the eighth annual Truffle Kerfuffle that celebrates the region as the heart of Australian truffle country.
The weekend consisted of over 20 events and saw historic Fonty’s Pool transformed into the Truffle Kerfuffle Festival Village with a huge marketplace showcasing the Southern Forests exceptional produce, free talks and cooking shows at the From The Earth stage powered by Winning Appliances, intimate masterclasses and dining events with Mark Best, Bruno Loubet, Sam Aisbett, Guy Grossi and Marianne Lumb, wine education sessions, kids cooking classes, truffle dog demonstrations, music and more.
About 32 kilograms of Manjimup truffle was served, over 1,400 people attended dining and wine events, 450 people ventured out on truffle hunts and more than 6,000 people participated in this year’s Truffle Kerfuffle.
Truffle Kerfuffle festival director Max Brearley said it was the biggest festival to date with the majority of events sold out.
“Our drawcard is the quality of the black truffle that comes out of Manjimup. It has a reputation as some of the best in the world, and this is not just drawing festival goers, but also some of the world’s best chefs as well. They’re excited to be part of this not for profit festival that has real heart. We’re very excited about the coming years and building on our already stellar alumni.” Max said.
Truffle Kerfuffle Inc. President Jeremy Beissel said it was a huge effort to make the festival happen each year.
“From the work that goes on to ensure that talent are aligned with what this festival is about, to mobilising volunteers who aren’t just local, it’s a huge amount of work. We have chefs driving from as far as Esperance to pitch in for the weekend and even volunteers from Singapore. It’s a special event and it happens because our people are passionate about what we’re doing here,” Jeremy said.
Mark Best, one of Australia’s most awarded chefs whose former restaurant Marque was celebrated in the San Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurants list and held three hats in the Good Food Guide for over ten years said that it’s one of best food festivals he’s been to.
“You had me on the drive down, it’s a beautiful part of the world that I’ve not been to before and it’s an absolutely stunning environment,” Mark said.
“What I loved about Truffle Kerfuffle is that the festival is about the region and the exceptional produce that’s found here. It’s a really good food culture here and the people are very proud of what they produce. It has a proper country community feel and I love the people here – they are fantastic. I’d come back in heartbeat, it’s been a great experience.”
Chef Bruno Loubet, one of France’s leading culinary exports, is known for making vegetables the hero on the plate and eating only a little meat that has been raised well. He trained under legendary Pierre Koffmann at La Tante Claire in London (3 Michelin stars), was head chef under Raymond Blanc OBE at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons (2 Michelin stars), before earning a star in his first year at Four Seasons, Inn on the Park and heading up two of London’s top eateries, Bistrot Bruno Loubet and Grain Store.
Bruno said it was refreshing to see how the farms operate in the Southern Forests region.
“I would say that the farms here are more organised than in France and Italy. Truffle is a new industry here and the growers look at it and think ‘how can we do things better? What is the best possible way to do this?’ – they aren’t trapped in tradition or secrets,” Bruno said.
“The Truffle Kerfuffle is a fantastic festival with such an array of produce – and everything is covered in truffle, what’s not to love? It’s been a very enjoyable experience to meet people with similar beliefs, who are passionate about and believe in what they are doing.”
Bruno has recently relocated to Australia to establish a rural cooking school in Queensland.
Acclaimed London chef Marianne Lumb said that she has been amazed by Manjimup and Truffle Kerfuffle.
“It’s been a weekend of ‘pinch myself moments’ because I love truffles so much and to be here on Planet Truffle is just, it’s a dream come true. Having Bruno and Mark to cook alongside has been awesome, they’re such fun and their energy is amazing,” Marianne said.
While in Manjimup, Marianne visited Newton Orchard, Beedelup Falls, Southern Roasting Co, Silkwood Wines, Karri Country Gourmet Potatoes and Pottinger Truffles. Mark Best went truffle hunting at Australian Truffle Traders and Oak Valley Truffles and visited Silkwood Wines and Southern Roasting Co. Bruno Loubet and Sam Aisbett both went truffle hunting at The Truffle & Wine Co.
Truffle Kerfuffle was held from 22 to 24 June and celebrates one of the world’s most luxurious ingredients, fresh black truffles, held just minutes from where they are unearthed in Manjimup.