Canberra? That’s so far away! (Says the silly Sydney-sider).
That silly Sydney-sider is me. It’s not that far, you know? It only took us two and a half hours and we didn’t even have to make a pit stop! Don’t you just love learning something new everyday? Me too.
Now that we’ve got the distance out of the way, let’s talk about why we’ve driven to Canberra… for the Truffle Festival of course! In it’s fourth year, the festival is fast gaining traction as one of the best Winter foodie events in Australia. If you’re into truffles, then it’s a must.
So, are you a truffle fan? I must say, people are very divided. There are passionate lovers and disgusted haters. I am a lover, but more on that later.
We arrive at the Crown Plaza in Canberra just in time to check in and see the sunset from the large window in our room that overlooks a beautiful park. Ahh, pretty.
The staff are extremely nice and seem to love kids a lot. Well, they like little Miss P, but who wouldn’t? She’s so cute! (Um, I’m not biased or anything). Hubby and I think it’s a very sweet touch that they have left her a stripey red monkey toy and put a name tag around his neck to let her know his name is Fred.
Unfortunately, she couldn’t give two hoots about Fred. Sorry guys. She only has eyes for her bunny rabbit, named bunny. (If we’d known she would become so attached to the damn thing I would have given it a better name, trust me). Moving on.
They have also provided a good selection of adult treats (no, get your brain out of the gutter) like truffle oil, wine, chocolate and blackforest fudge – some of which came home with us (not much though).
Before dinner we took a quick whip around the hotel to familiarise ourselves with the layout. As in, find out where the breakfast buffet is for the morning.
Miss P was extremely satisfied with their kids club area. The colouring in, the toy box that she took everything out of and climbed inside, the plastic golf club that she used as a walking stick and, of course, the TWO large screen TVs with several comfy bean bags scattered around like big colourful clouds of fun.
Did I mention Twister? Yep, kids club was a hit.
Finally, the food!
First up was the seared scallops, confit carrot, sauce d’epice and black truffle ($21). The scallops were cooked to perfection and the thinly sliced truffle was nice, but not quite as aromatic and flavoursome as I was expecting.
You just didn’t get that hit in the nostrils and the back of the throat that you really want from a good truffle. Perhaps the sauce could have been flavoured with truffle too, just to really make it a heady truffle experience.
The carrots, however, were a really nice accompaniment. Still firm to the tooth and rich from the oily confit technique.
Hubby and I are really into Pinot Noir at the moment. We ordered one that was grown in Canberra, seeing as we were there for the full local experience. Mount Majura Vineyard, Pinto Noir 2010 ($45) was a cracker – highly recommend! Very smooth with deep berry flavours.
It wasn’t the best choice to go with the scallops and the chicken, but I think it’s better to just choose wines you like rather than ones that are classically meant to go with food (in my humble opinion).
Next up was the Roast chicken supreme, black truffle, lentils du puy, baby beets and thyme jus ($36). The chicken was super moist which was good because, again, the truffle flavour was not that punchy. There were a few big slices pushed under the skin which meant the flavour did permeate the meat and skin but I did find myself wanting more truffle.
Maybe I’m greedy? Or maybe I’m just too much of a fiend! Hubby is less of a truffle fan and he thought the flavour was definitely there, so I think I am just being too picky. The two dishes are a great match for the truffle as they are relatively bland flavours (scallops, chicken) that allow the truffle to permeate and act as the star.
There was no time for dessert as little Miss P had started to muck up by throwing food onto the floor and sliding down under her tray table. We didn’t mind though, as we knew we had that yummy chocolate and more wine back up in the room.
Have you ever tasted truffles? What did you think?
Guess what? Truffle stories are happening here all week. Drop by tomorrow to see a fantastic Truffle Cooking Class story and then the next day for pictures of a Truffle Hunt.
Fig & Cherry (and family) stayed and dined as guests of Crowne Plaza Canberra and Redsalt Restaurant with thanks to Starr Public Relations (cheers Charlie and Luke!).
Crowne Plaza Canberra
1 Binara Street,
Canberra ACT 2601
Ph: +61 2 6247 8999
Breakfast 6:30am – 10:00am (Monday – Friday); 6:30am – 11:00am (Saturday & Sunday)
Lunch 12:00pm – 2:00pm (Sunday – Friday)
Dinner A la carte 6:00pm – 10:00pm
Reservations: +61 2 6274 5506