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Oregon Truffle Festival

So many truffles…so good

As a truffle lover, you need to immerse yourself in Orgon truffles. The best way to start is to attend the Oregon Truffle Festival (OTF) in January and February. You can attend the whole shebang or choose what works for you, interest-, travel- and time-wise.

The Festival, now an Oregon nonprofit, has always been about promoting the native culinary truffles found in the Willamette Valley. But it is also about education: cooking, growing, harvesting, training truffle dogs, and furthering mycological research that started over 100 years ago at Oregon State University. Sometimes we hear "education" and turn away, but this is really fun (and tasty) education. It's also a great way to get more familiar with the area, which is gorgeous. Another benefit is that, like many foraged items, truffle locations are usually kept secret. Good in protecting what's there, but bad in that it reduces development and knowledge that increase market potential. OTF promotes development in ways that sustain truffles, and that have grown markets for dog-harvested truffles tenfold.

From January 25-27, 2019, you can head to Eugene and Willamette Valley truffle country. There are four different packages ( The Urban Forager , The Truffle Growers All-In Adventure , The Gourmand-already sold out, The Epicurious ) which you can view on the website. Events include truffle dog training and the Joriad Truffle Dog championships, truffle hunts and winery luncheons, the two-day Truffle Growers' Forum with truffiere tour and winery luncheon on Saturday, the Grand Truffle Dinner, and the Sunday Fresh Truffle Marketplace. There are all kinds of chefs involved in culinary events, cooking demos, lunches, and dinners. We'd like to point out the Grand Truffle Dinner at the Eugene Hilton because one of our own be in attendance. Eric Tanaka , Partner and Executive Chef with Tom Douglas Seattle Kitchen, will be one of six chefs known for their skill and creativity with Oregon truffles. Eric has a happy history with truffles as he explains, "One of my fondest cooking memories is my first truffle. It was a white truffle shaved over soft scrambled eggs that were stored with the truffles. I had just started cooking and to that point only knew of chocolate truffles. I continued my truffle journey in Alba, Italy, consequently, I jump at any chance to cook, eat and serve truffles. My excitement for the Oregon truffle fest, keeps me on a path filled with truffles!" The dinner is part of the packages, but you can also choose to attend the dinner only ($240, January 26, 6-9:30 p.m.).

Truffle dogs, by David Barajas

Langdon Cook is another Seattle star who will be at OTF; forager, author, instructor, and lecturer on wild foods and the outdoors. He will be part of the Urban Forager weekend package, which fits him perfectly. "As a general rule, I'm in favor of tromping around our iconic Northwest woodlands by day and cooking up their hidden bounty at night. So the Oregon Truffle Festival is my sort of gathering: a celebration of food and the outdoors-with people who appreciate nature's secret pantry." He'll also be lecturing at the Fresh Truffle Marketplace on Sunday, and will have his award-winning books available to sign and sell.

From February 15-17 (President Day weekend), you're off to Yamhill Valley wine county. There's just one package this weekend, The Terroir of Truffles . Weekend events include Fruit and Earth: A Tale of Place (two parts), Forage & Feast with a truffle hunt and winery luncheons, The Romance of Rose, a James Beard Foundation elegant dinner with James Beard-honored chefs, Truffles & Bubbles brunch, the Newberg Fresh Truffle Marketplace.

Truffle hunt, by Kathryn Elsesser

A la carte events include Friday evening's "Fruit and Earth: A Taste of Place at the beautiful Chehalem Cultural Center and Sunday's Fresh Truffle Marketplace with artisan food and wine tasting from some of the valley'sl most acclaimed wineries. And new in 2019, OTF's firt ever Truffles & Bubbles brunch Sunday morning at Anne Amie Vineyards, and Sunday Suppers at Lady Hill Winery and The Joel Palmer House to round oyut the holiday weekend.

Again, we'd like to call out our Seattle chefs heading down for the James Beard dinner at Domaine Serene: Rachel Yang , a 2015 James Beard nominee for Best Northwest Chef and owner, with her co-chef and husband Seif Chirchi, of Joule and Revel. Rachel's excited about the event, saying "This is my second time going to Oregon Truffle Festival! It's pretty amazing that Oregon produces really fantastic truffles. It's always a really fun event where you can go all out!" In addition, John Sundstrom , a James Beard award-winning chef, and chef-owner of Lark, Slab Sandwiches + Pie, and Southpaw, will be on hand for the JBF dinner. "I'm happy to be cooking at the Oregon Truffle Festival again in February; it's great to see how the festival has grown and solidified its program over the years! I've been a fan of our NW truffle varieties for years, and these days truffle hunters are better than ever at bringing mature ripe truffles to restaurants like Lark. I usually feature a couple of dishes with black or white truffles during our misty cold months on the Lark menu, I love them with eggs and wild game especially! It's a thrill to share all about truffles with our guests, whether they are novices or experienced diners (who are probably more familiar with European varieties)." The dinner takes place on February 16 and is part of The Terroir of Truffles package and cannot be purchased as a stand-alone.

Truffle dish, by John Valls

OTF has lodging partners for January and February events. In Eugene, the Eugene Hilton Downtown, newly refreshed, has a free airport shuttle available throughout the festival weekend (make arrangements with the hotel for this). In Yamhill, partners include The Allison Inn & Spa, Atticus Hotel, 3rd Street Flats, Inn at Red Hills, and Lifestyle Properties.

There's a lot to learn about truffles, but the fun never stops with all that OTF offers. The Marketplace in both Eugene and Newberg offer truffle tastings and demos (recipes!), and services related to the truffle industry. Truffles are for sale, there are tastings of wine, beer and spirits and artisan food tastings and sales. And maybe best, a truffle dog demonstration. The Marketplaces are part of the packages, but you can also attend them solo.

It's best to jump on their website and see the vast array of things to do on these two weekends. It's an amazing look at, and taste of, Oregon's truffles that shouldn't be missed. Enjoy!

Oregon Truffle Festival

Eugene and Willamette Valley Truffle Country
January 25-27, 2019

Yamhill Valley Wine Country
February 15-17, 2019

Toll-free voicemail: 888-695-6659

Connie Adams/November 2018

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