Midwinter is a wonderful time for Canberra foodies with so much happening.
Menus are changing to suit the cooler weather, many of them reflecting that we're in the middle of truffle season; venues are lighting fires to lure patrons in for the afternoon; and there are even a few special events close by and out of town as something a little extra special.
The Canberra District Wine Industry Association made the hard choice to officially cancel the Fireside Festival due to ever-changing Covid restrictions but individual venues are still doing ahead with some events.
Here are a few things happening over the next few weeks so get out the diary and lock in a night out.
Tickets for these things are usually harder to get than, well truffles, but with Sydney-siders unable to visit, this season is a good one for local fans. Blue Frog Truffles, Durran Darra Truffles, L'Air du Wombat Truffles, Macenmist Black Truffles and Wines, Tarago Truffles and Turalla Truffles are all running hunts so contact the venues directly for more information.
Check out the Truffle Festival website for a full list of activities at trufflefestival.com.au
On the menu
Many of our local restaurants are featuring truffles on the menu over the next month, from fancy fine dining events to more accessible menus of burgers and pizza.
At Agostini's, chef Francesco Balestrieri's new winter menu features truffles across all courses. From a risotto al tartufo, with porcini mushrooms, thyme, breadcrumbs and fresh truffles, to a one-kilogram t-bone steak (enough for two to three people) with truffle and parmesan shoe-string fries with truffle butter, to a funghi pizza. For dessert there's a truffle-infused pannacotta served with amaretto and strawberries.
On July 17 and 31, Poachers Pantry Smokehouse will be featuring a four-course seasonal dinner featuring Blue Frog truffles. It's a good chance to get out to Poachers for dinner. Think an entree of scalllop with truffle, chive and prosciutto butter; for main, a slow-braised lamb shoulder with hazelnut pecorino crust, pomegranate and truffled celeriac cream; and finish with baked ricotta cheesecake with rhubarb compote and gingerbread crumb. Vegetarian options are available. $89 for four courses, $125 includes optional wine pairing.
The truffle dinners at Otis Dining Hall are always popular, with chefs Damian Brabender and Adam Wilson curating three different menus throughout winter. They're up to menu two, which runs until August 1. From a Toulouse sausage with truffle mash, truffle garum and watercress, to a raviolo with egg yolk, truffled leek, smoked bacon lardons and shaved truffle, to a creme caramel with shaved truffle. To top it all off, the menu is matched with Clonakilla wines. $145pp, plus $70 for the wine matching.
Schnapps and schnitty
Nothing warms you up quite like a shot of schnapps, so The Bavarian, in Woden and Belconnen, is encouraging you to pair it with a hearty winter dish like a golden schnitty. The Bavarian's 2-for-1 Schnitzels on Tuesdays is valid with the purchase of two full-priced drinks, so why not make it $5 schnapps. The Bavarian's has 11 different schnapps flavours such as butter toffee, pink sweet apple and peppermint to give you the burning warmth you crave this winter.
The Burning of the Barrel night at Lake George Winery is always a fun night. Who doesn't love a bonfire. Lock in August 31. Tickets are $25pp for adults, which includes wine tasting and a full glass to enjoy. Kids are $10pp which gets them a drink and few marshmallows to toast over the fire. There's a menu available to purchase on the night, a bus out from town, and fun to be had. From 4-8pm.
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