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Canberra has a special charm in winter when frosty mornings, open fires, and cosy venues serving mulled wine make it the capital of cool. But what makes the region particularly special in winter is … drumroll … truffles.
The Canberra region has become synonymous with these precious ‘black diamonds’, celebrating the luxury fungi with truffle menus, truffle hunts and even a months-long Truffle Festival. Explore the region over a leisurely few days and discover what all the fuss is about.
Friday Meander along the Poachers Way to Canberra and start to get a taste of things to come during your gourmet weekend. Taste the wines, local cuisine, discover local products, visit galleries or race across the hills on horseback, before settling in for the night in one of the stylish rooms at A by Adina Canberra in the Constitution Place precinct.
In the heart of the city, it’s within walking distance of a host of great restaurants, including the highly acclaimed, modern Japanese restaurant, Raku. Watch the action while you sit at the bar as chefs prepare New Zealand snapper, sliced to perfection and topped with truffle ponzu as part of their hugely popular Royal Tasting Menu.
Saturday Enjoy breakfast at ARC Café at Constitution Place, then spend the day exploring the Murrumbateman area - about a 40 minute drive from the hotel. Relax, sit back and take in the picturesque Poachers Vineyard home to a popular smokehouse, restaurant and cellar door. The old farmhouse has been transformed into a light-filled dining room offering charcuterie three-course set lunches ($75). On 1 July the restaurant is hosting a Truffle dinner – well worth the visit.
Linger in the area and drop into nearby wineries like Helm Wines and The Vinter’s Daughter for a tasting before heading back into town to try Bentspoke Brewing’s truffle-infused craft beer.
Alternatively, you can warm up in the whiskey corner at Chifley’s Bar & Grill in the historic Hotel Kurrajong. Named after Australia’s sixteenth Prime Minister Ben Chifley, who frequently enjoyed a tipple in the bar, the restaurant pays homage to the region’s boutique food producers, including its truffle farmers.
Sunday Venture out in the beautiful winter sun with a truffle hunt at The Truffle Farm, just a short drive from Canberra’s CBD. Team up with Jayson and his dogs for a day to remember as you help unearth the prized truffles. The executive chef will prepare an unforgettable dining experience and teach you all the secrets to using truffles at home. Canberra is thought to be the only capital city in the world with a commercial truffle farm - all the more reason to visit.
Travel Secret: There are many species of truffles, but one of the most prized in culinary circles is the Black Winter Truffle (also known as Perigord Truffle.) The climate around the Canberra region is ideal for Black Winter Truffles.
Had enough of truffles? On the way home, drop in to Robyn Rowe Chocolates in Murrumbateman. Using only fresh ingredients for the fillings and handcrafted with European methods, this beautiful chocolate boutique offers a variety of flavours from hazelnut praline, ginger and French vanilla, to jasmine green tea, Frangelico and butterscotch schnapps. Not into chocolate? Visit a few more wineries to stock up the cellar - there are more than 30 wineries within 30 minutes’ drive of Canberra city, creating distinct cool-climate wines.
As you explore Canberra’s flourishing culinary scene, choose from a range of accommodation options, including A by Adina, Hotel Kurrajong, or the strikingly designed Vibe Hotel Canberra, where the soaring atrium has a gorgeous modern fireplace. It’s the perfect place to relax on a chilly winter’s day.