EUGENE, Ore. — For days, the chefs at the Oregon Truffle Festival have been constantly sniffing hundreds of truffles. They do this to check the ripeness and the flavors of these truffles. Depending on how ripe the truffles are, they can have fruity aromas all the way to more cheesy and nutty accents.
They’re preparing for Sunday night’s sold-out dinner–the culmination of the festivities. Lucky for these chefs, Lane County is one of the best places in the world to find quality truffles.
“What grows in the ground here in Oregon is nothing short of an incredible smorgasbord of offerings, and the Oregon truffles sit at the top of that,” said Charles Ruff, Culinary Director for the Truffle Festival.
While you might think of chocolates when you hear “truffles,” they’re actually highly prized mushrooms. Chefs use them for a variety of dishes, both sweet and savory. The festival has already served omelettes, ravioli, even coffee infused with flavors from truffles. The truffle can really add to an entree.
“You can take butter or cheese and put it with some white truffles and it completely changes the flavor of everything. It just makes it luxurious and decadent,” said Robin Jackson, one of the chefs preparing dishes for the festival’s many meals. For him, the chance to work with these local ingredients is something unique to the Willamette Valley.
“This is basically the culinary gem to have. It’s the chef’s ultimate dream to work with truffles. It’s right here in Oregon and that’s not something you can say about any other region in North America,” Jackson said.
The organizers of the festival hope the experience will put Eugene on the culinary map for fans of fine food, all with ingredients growing right in our own backyard.
“It’s our mission to see that Oregon and Oregon truffles become the centerpiece of truffling in North America”, said Ruff.
If you’re unfamiliar with truffles but would like to try them for the first time, Sunday’s open market is a perfect place to do just that. The market will feature vendors serving up truffle dishes all over the culinary spectrum. The festivities will be at the Eugene Hilton on 6th Avenue.