- 23-25 June 2023, Manjimup, Western Australia
- Over 50kg of truffles consumed
- Over 1,140 people attended exquisite dining events
- Culinary stars: Colin Fassnidge, Analiese Gregory, Jake Kellie, Paul Iskov, Melissa Palinkas, Ben Ing, Amanda Yong, Samira Damirova and Tony Howell
The 11th 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.
With crisp winter air filled with the heady aroma of fresh truffle, over 4,800 food-lovers participated in a journey of rediscovery of the beautiful region of the Southern Forests and Valleys, from the ground up.
More than 900 guests enjoyed decadent truffle laden dishes in the Truffle Kerfuffle Festival Restaurant, 240 people gathered around the kitchen bench in the Chefs Cabin, 290 people sipped and swirled local drops in Wine Masterclasses and over 260 people followed clever canines out on truffle hunts.
Once inside the gates, festival goers watched free cooking demonstrations on stage hosted by chef Tony Howell along with Melissa Palinkas, Samira Damirova, Paul Iskov, Amanda Yong and other chefs.
The cold temperatures and rain added to the winter festival vibes with event goers rugging up, pulling on gum boots and enjoying themselves around fire pits. They enjoyed the plentiful bounty of the Southern Forests produce and took every opportunity to eat, drink and mingle with some great chefs, cooks and producers.
More than 50 kilograms of Manjimup truffles were consumed over the weekend with approximately 30 kilograms shaved over 22,300 plates at long table dining events, as well as in the intimate Chef’s Cabin masterclasses with chefs Colin Fassnidge, Analiese Gregory, Jake Kellie, Melissa Palinkas, Paul Iskov and Ben Ing.
Almost breaking the website when tickets went on sale in April, Colin Fassnidge’s Saturday night long table dinner sold out in under two hours.
The 2023 Truffle Kerfuffle was the most-purchased event from the Moshtix website during its first week on sale, beating every other national tour and show across Australia and New Zealand.
The long table dining events are always popular with food lovers, all bar one selling out weeks in advance. The opening dinner on Friday night was by Analiese Gregory and Melissa Palinkas who welcomed guests with a delicious five course truffle-laden dinner and then chatting to guests with MC Fleur Bainger.
Saturday brunch was by Fervor chef Paul ‘Yoda’ Iskov who showcased native ingredients including smoked emu egg, kangaroo tail and sea celery in his creative truffle menu. Sunday brunch by Adelaide’s Jake Kellie included an incredible pear tart Fine with truffle Chantilly cream. The opening night dinner included Melissa Palinkas’ truffle mortadella and Aneliese Gregory’s potato truffle ravioli with chicken jus gras. Colin Fassnidge’s dinner started with canapes carved from a whole spit-roasted pig in front of guests.
The Festival Village Marketplace 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.
The trained hunters from Australian Truffle Dogs demonstrated how they find the alluring truffle, people chatted with farmers and producers, caught up with friends old and new, huddled around fire pits and raising umbrellas during short rain showers. Live music created a fun festival vibe and the Main Bar was buzzing.
Truffle Kerfuffle was held from 23 to 25 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
After the event was cancelled last year due to uncertainties surrounding the pandemic, I’m beyond thrilled that we’ve staged a safe and successful Truffle Kerfuffle festival. The wintry weather is part of it, and thousands of people rugged up and had a great time. It’s always hugely rewarding to see Truffle Kerfuffle come to life and see and hear the flow on benefits it has for the community and local businesses. Truffle Kerfuffle is a celebration of our truffle industry and all the amazing agricultural products grown in the Southern Forests and Valleys. It shines a bright light on our fantastic community.
Colin Fassnidge, Sydney:
I’ve never seen so much truffle in my life. Truffle Kerfuffle has been really great. Not only did I get to use as much truffle as humanly possible, but I cooked with incredible produce from the region – parsnips, potatoes, pumpkin, pasture-raised chicken, pork, marron and more. I did my first truffle hunt at Australian Truffle Traders which I loved – so many truffles in the orchard, it’s like an ATM! I was impressed with Hound and Hunter and what they are going there – David Coomer gave me a taste of his miso straight from the barrel, and I loved it so much I put it in the truffle butter for the chef’s cabin.
In the kitchen, Supper Road and Margaret River Tafe did a stellar job - it’s not easy to feed 250 people a five course meal and those guys worked so hard, and I’ve got to acknowledge Jimmy Callaway my sous chef too.
Truffle Kerfuffle is a fantastic festival – hopefully I’ll be able to come back and do it again sometime.
Analiese Gregory, Tasmania:
Returning to the truffle kerfuffle felt fun, wintry and cosy. All things I’m used to in Southern Tasmania. This year I really enjoyed the chefs demo experience where a young boy gave me Lilly Pillies he had foraged for me. Cooking for the opening night with Melissa Palinkas was a highlight too and of course using copious amounts of truffle and trying out new flavour combinations like seaweed and truffle for the first time.
Jake Kellie, Adelaide:
I’ve been using Manjimup Truffles for seven years, David Coomers truffles, and it was great to meet him finally. The winter weather at Truffle Kerfuffle is perfect for cooking on fire – my favourite way to cook. I’ve never had a cheering rock star reception like I got at Truffle Kerfuffle, it was so fun and really humbling. I loved using the region’s produce – even things like tamarillos which I hadn’t heard of before coming to Manjimup.
Melissa Palinkas, Young George and Ethos Deli, Fremantle:
It’s such a privilege to be a part of this festival. To cook with other talents from across Australia and of course show case our world class truffles over what I think is such a special weekend for WA people in such a unique place.
Paul Iskov, Fervor, Busselton:
Manjimup has the most incredible produce and first class truffles. It’s the people that we love and I’m really happy to be back in Manjimup. Doing a long table brunch is a very different experience for us, but we got to use all of our favourite producers – charcoal springs eggs, bravo apples, black solitaire truffles and more, and it was so nice to see everyone come out and enjoy a long brunch.
Tony Howell, chef based in the Margaret River Region:
It’s been a fantastic weekend. It was great to see everyone embrace the winter weather, rug up and enjoy themselves, and how can you not? Surrounded by delicious food and produce from the Southern Forests and Valleys, and really great wine too. 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.
The 11th edition of Truffle Kerfuffle (a not-for-profit community event that began in 2011) is a highlight on the Australian tourism and food-lover’s calendar.
Truffle Kerfuffle is proudly supported by the Western Australian State Government through Tourism WA’s Regional Events Program, Fonty’s Pool and the Shire of Manjimup.