The 10th Truffle Kerfuffle festival at the picturesque Fonty’s Pool in Manjimup, nestled in Western Australia’s south west, was celebrated by thousands of locals and visitors, breaking the record for the largest crowd in a single day.
The warm sunny forecast on Saturday drew 2,900 people through the gates at Fonty’s Pool, the most on any single day in the event’s 10-year history. The chance of rain and storms on Sunday hardly dampened the spirits of those who enjoyed the bounty of the Southern Forests and took every opportunity to eat, drink and mingle with some great chefs, cooks and producers.
There were over 44 events across the weekend with the historic Fonty’s Pool transformed into the Truffle Kerfuffle Festival Village. Over 30 kilograms of Manjimup truffle was served to more than 1,100 people at long table dining events, as well as in the intimate Chef’s Cabin masterclasses held in the newly renovated Packing Shed that featured chefs Analiese Gregory, David Coomer, Kenny McHardy, Liam Atkinson, Brendan Pratt, and via live video, Guillaume Brahimi who was unable to travel to WA due to the pandemic in NSW.
The long table dining events were popular with food lovers, all bar one selling out weeks in advance. The opening dinner was by Guillaume Brahimi who beamed in via live video link to welcome guests and chat about truffles, answering questions from MC Fleur Bainger, while his sous chef Robert Murphy led the kitchen team.
Saturday brunch was by Aaron Carr and Kenny McHardy, Saturday dinner by Tasmania’s Analiese Gregory and Sunday brunch by Chris Howard.
At the picturesque RAC Karri Valley Resort, chef Gord Kahle cooked lunch on Saturday at Among the Karris and satellite dining events included two Fervor lunches held on a private truffle farm, dinner at Sööma restaurant with chef Melissa Palinkas, truffle farm experiences, truffle sundowners and more.
Over 200 people attended wine, beer and spirit masterclasses, 270 people sipped and swirled in Wine Shed sessions, over 380 people ventured out on truffle hunts and approximately 5,600 people walked through the gates at Fonty’s Pool to attend the 10th Truffle Kerfuffle. Once inside the gates, festival goers watched free cooking demonstrations on stage hosted by Cape Lodge chef Tony Howell along with Melissa Palinkas, Sophie Budd, Paul Iskov, Brendan Pratt and other chefs.
The Festival Village Marketplace, staffed by over 200 stall holders, was brimming with delicacies to try and buy with tempting wafts of truffles, as well as wine, olive oil, roasted chestnuts, Shelter beer, liqueurs, sweet treats, spices and more.
Kids enjoyed free cooking classes with Sophie Budd, the clever canines from Australian Truffle Dogs demonstrated how they find the alluring truffle, and the Main Bar was buzzing. People chatted with farmers and producers, caught up with friends old and new, huddled around fire pits or sprawled out on the lawn in the sun, and live music created a fun festival vibe, which continued on with cocktails, dancing and a food truck dinner at the Closing Party on Sunday night.
Truffle Kerfuffle was held from 25 to 27 June at Fonty’s Pool, Manjimup, Western Australia, in the most prolific truffle growing region in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s a true celebration of Manjimup’s prized black truffles, sought-after by chefs across the globe for their consistent high quality, impossible-to-describe taste and heady, earthy aroma.
Last year’s event was cancelled due to the pandemic and the response to this year’s Truffle Kerfuffle has been overwhelmingly positive from chefs, producers and event attendees.
Quotes attributed as indicated:
Jeremy Biessel, Chairman Truffle Kerfuffle Inc., Owner Fonty’s Pool
It’s not easy to organise an event of this scale in the current climate, and after cancelling last year, I’m beyond thrilled that we’ve had a safe and successful Truffle Kerfuffle festival. We couldn’t have asked for better weather on Saturday and a record number of people filled the Festival Village. The little bit of rain we had on Sunday had no impact on people having a great time either. It’s been hugely rewarding to see so many people really enjoying the weekend down here. Truffle Kerfuffle is a celebration of our truffle industry and all the amazing agricultural products grown in the Southern Forests. And now Manjimup truffles are renowned the world over for their quality and it’s terrific to be able to showcase that at Truffle Kerfuffle.
Analiese Gregory, Tasmania:
I’ve really enjoyed Truffle Kerfuffle! It’s country, wholesome, a little bit ‘bourgeoisie’ because of the truffle, it’s a really fun festival. Manjimup is beautiful, it really reminds me of Tasmania. Manjimup truffles are beautiful we’ve had the privilege to use so many of them – more truffle I say, just a little bit more. It’s not often you get to use truffle in such liberal amount. I had such fun on a truffle hunt, patting Molly the dog [at Australian Truffle Traders], the dappled sunlight through the trees, it was a really beautiful afternoon.
Liam Atkinson, The Rebelle:
Truffle Kerfuffle has been really good fun, it’s beautiful down here, I’ve not been here since I was 12 years old. The festival was really well organised, a beautiful festival, I’ve really enjoyed it. The truffles are really good – WA is known now for having some of the best truffles in the world, we’re really lucky. Is it ever not fun cooking with truffles?
Tony Howell, Cape Lodge:
It’s been a cracking weekend. I don’t know if it’s because people have been dying to do something or if it’s because Truffle Kerfuffle is getting better every year. It’s run really smoothly, and every chef who’s been on stage with me has been amazing, we’re having plenty of laughs, enjoying ourselves, and the punters have had a cracking weekend – what a way to celebrate 10 years.
From its initial beginnings in 2011, Truffle Kerfuffle (a not for profit community event) has grown into a highlight of the Australian tourism calendar and a bucket-list event for many travellers and food-lovers.
Truffle Kerfuffle is proudly supported by the Western Australian State Government through Tourism WA’s Regional Events Program, Fonty’s Pool, Australian Truffle Traders and Truffle Hill.
Date: 25 - 27 June 2021
Location: Fonty’s Pool, Manjimup, Western Australia