Oregon Truffle Festival Tickets On Sale
Tickets are on sale now for the 2014 Oregon Truffle Festival. The festival runs for three days and offers four different experiences that include cooking classes, seminars, truffle forays, dinners and visits to local wineries. Read more about what makes this event so unique.
She was absolutely giddy and could not wait to show me the ingredient that she was tasked with turning into a mouthwatering dessert. Noisette Pastry Kitchen owner, Tobi Sovak, led me back to the refrigerator three days before the 2013 Oregon Truffle Festival Grand Truffle Dinner. The festival had provided her with both black and white truffles, which she would make into a decadent chocolate crémeux with black truffle and a hazelnut meringue with olive oil, sea salt and orange caramel.
Pastry chefs rarely get to cook with truffles, so Tobi took this honor seriously, infusing her passion for art with her proven pastry making skills. Her energy and excitement were contagious. The only problem was that I would have to wait three days and five meals before I would get to taste the final result.
I met fellow attendees Friday at the Hilton Eugene and was amazed by how far many had come for the event. Throughout the weekend, I sat by guests from Arkansas, Virginia and even Finland.
Day one led us to a wooded area in Willamette Valley wine country. We were there to watch trained truffle dogs lead us to these culinary treasures. Despite the intermittent downpour – (it was January in Oregon after all), my group was digging this foray. Hoods up and boots on, they trekked through, finding their own aromatic nuggets on the way. Glowing from our finds, we hopped back into the vans for our next stop, a cooking demonstration with Chef Robin Jackson from Sooke Harbour House.
Chef Robin and Sous Chef, Toivo Heyduck’s, warm candor and approachability engaged and captivated the group. I found this to be true in all of the classes I attended during the festival. Saturday, Dustin Clark of Portland’s Wildwood Restaurant welcomed us into his temporary kitchen near Eugene and created a grilled parsnip and grapefruit salad topped with shaved, fresh black truffle right before our eyes, serving it with Oregon Pinot noir.
At this point, you’d think I’d be truffled-out. No ma’am. I was just getting started. The thing about truffles is the more you try them, the more you want them.
After a brief nap, I headed over to the Grand Truffle Dinner, a five-course dinner with each prepared by a different chef and paired with a different Oregon wine. I had the treat of being seated next to the vineyard manager from Left Coast Cellars, one of the featured wines of the night. My favorite (non-dessert) dish of the dinner came from Nick Balla of San Francisco’s famed Bar Tartine. His poached sablefish in parsnip broth with white truffle, sunchoke oil and kabocha squash melted in my mouth.
Then came my friend Tobi’s time to shine. I had waited three days to try her dessert. Her chocolate crémeux danced in my mouth, treating my taste buds to a truffle-infused euphoria. Each experience in the weekend had helped prepare me for the Grand Truffle Dinner, giving me a better appreciation for the skill, artistry and passion that goes into cooking with truffles.
I awoke from my truffle-tinted reverie Sunday and geared up for the final event of the weekend, the Oregon Truffle Festival Marketplace. Open to the public, the market is a rare opportunity to purchase fresh truffles and the foods and wines that pair so beautifully with them. My favorite part of the day was meeting the chefs and winemakers featured at the Grand Truffle Dinner. I thanked them, bought their wines and, of course, made sure to congratulate my friend Tobi on a job well done.
Tickets are on sale for the 2014 Oregon Truffle Festival, January 24-26 in Eugene. For the first time, the festival will introduce craft beer and spirits into the event.