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Oregon Truffle Festival 2009

2nd Feb 09 (Mon) 3 comments

Yesterday was a truffle-tastic day… we started the day with a belated work holiday brunch for my wife’s work at NIB (see my prior rave / review here).  Delicious.  Utterly delicious. We had some truffles of the chocolate variety, and one of those chocolate truffles had a filling that was of the mycological variety.  Then we went straight from brunch to the Oregon Truffle Festival (henceforth noted as “OTF”) at the Valley River Inn in Eugene.

The entry fee was $15, but it came with a great assortment of truffle samples, whether infused into oil, cheese, breads, shortbread cookies… plus for an additional $5 I got an OTF Riedel glass with as many wine tastings as I wanted.  There were probably 6-8 wineries there with 4-6 wines each.  Oh… it was awesome.  We came home with the 2007 Willamette Valley Vineyards’ Riesling.  It was only $10 and not as sweet as most Rieslings… nice drinkability.  The Gewürztraminer from a winery late in the tasting (thus I forget their name) was also aucking fwesome, but I think we were spent in both the wallet and weariness categories; so we didn’t pick it up.

Probably the best part of the OTF was the truffle dog demonstration.  The trainer, Jim Sanford, and 6 year old Lagotto Romagnolo named Tom came from a truffle orchard at the Blackberry Farm in Knoxville, Tennessee.  Jim told us a lot about this wonderful Italian breed of dogs, but basically came out with “any dog can do this.”  These Italian dogs have just been bred to do it very well.  He went through some of the history of the dogs, the orchard, and the hauls they’ve brought in (25 pounds of truffles in one day once, 4 pounds in 30 minutes – where 150 pounds per year is a good year).  Truffles can fetch $600 a pound; so a 25 pound haul in one day is $15,000 worth of mushrooms!!

After a quick Q&A session, we all went outside and Jim had Tom find some truffles that he had previously hidden by a large tree in a field by the Inn.  Tom did a good job, despite being distracted by the freeway, the new smells, the 30-40 people surrounding him and the other dog in the field. :)

More pictures of Lagotto Romagnolo’s are here: http://www.dogguide.net/dog-pictures/lagotto-romagnolo-photo-gallery-pictures-of-lagotto-romagnolos/ (they look very poodle-y to me)

Anyway, I’m looking forward to the Oregon Truffle Festival next year…

http://oregontrufflefestival.com/

~Dan – np: Joey BaronTongue in Groove

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