Black gold: truffle hunting in Ballarat with Black Cat Truffles

Each July the Ballarat Winter Festival takes over Ballarat. This is how I found myself at A Taste of Truffles hosted by Black Cat Truffles, deep in a Victorian Goldfields town known as Wattle Flat.

Black Cat Truffles lies on a small unassuming property owned by a lovely couple, Lynette and Andres. The property is home to one thousand Oak trees, a mixture of English and French planted 10 years ago. At the root of these tress are little black treasures known as Truffles. Retailing for $2.50 per gram, so even a small truffle, say the size of a golf ball is worth about $100. This makes the job of the Truffle Hunting dogs very important. We met the dogs, Ella and Harry who lead us on a magical journey hunting for the black winter truffle.

Black cat truffles a tates of truffles

We arrived at 10:30 and were treated to morning tea and a quick lesson on truffle growing and hunting. The truffles grown here are a French Variety and they produce about 25kg per year, though not these are saleable. The truffles grow at the root of the oaks, about 20cm deep in the earth. The dogs are trained to sniff out where the truffles lie, then Lynette carefully digs in the area to find the precious truffles. She can tell from the smell when the truffles are ripe, or if they have gone too far and started to rot. If the truffles are not ripe and ready to harvest, they are marked for re-checking later.

During our hunt, we dug up over ten truffles in the space of 3o minutes, not a bad effort. The truffles are then gently washed and carefully placed in containers for sale at the property or at local Farmers Markets.

Black cat truffles a tates of truffles

We returned to the warmth of the shop and were treated to A Taste of Truffles! Starting with a gorgeous soft brie, stuffed and covered with slices of truffle, it was heavenly. A gorgeous vegetable soup with truffle oil and truffle shavings following with soft bread spread with truffle butter. Next up was potato baked with cheese cream, garlic and sprinkled with truffle of course, and finally truffle ice cream with honeycomb and a glass of sparkling wine.

This event was informative, suitable for all ages and most of all great fun.

– Emily Coupar
Emily Coupar is passionate nurse, foodie and author and beginner yogi, you can follow her on Instagram and Facebook. 

Black Cat Truffles run regular events, you can check out on their website, also, you can check upcoming events on their Facebook page. 

The Plus Ones were invited guests of Black Cat Truffles and Ballarat Winter Festival.
Image Credit: Black Cat Truffles.