Weekend’s a kerfuffle over ‘black gold’

Tari JeffersManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Truffle Dogs WA co-owner Mel Booth and Mako sniff out some "black gold" ahead of the Truffle Kerfuffle this weekend.
Camera IconTruffle Dogs WA co-owner Mel Booth and Mako sniff out some "black gold" ahead of the Truffle Kerfuffle this weekend. Credit: Tari Jeffers

More than 5000 people are expected to descend on Manjimup this weekend for the seventh annual Truffle Kerfuffle, pumping more than $1 million into the economy and further enhancing the region as a food tourism destination.

Organisers have provided three days of truffle-related activities starting Friday and are calling on the community to get behind the event to ensure its longevity.

The festival – held at Fonty’s Pool – celebrates the region’s black truffle industry and helps promote the region as a place for “black gold” on the international market.

Looking forward, Truffle Kerfuffle president Jeremy Beissel said he hoped for continued support from a community that wholeheartedly enjoyed and appreciated the event.

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Mr Beissel said he hoped there was something for everyone to enjoy at the festival, with highlights including the family fun day on Sunday, various cooking demonstrations, truffle hunting demonstrations and a 80m by 15m marquee full of food and wine stalls.

Guest chefs this year include Paul West, Jack Stein, Amy Hamilton, Aaron Carr and Ben Day.

Truffle Dogs WA co-owner and truffle grower Gavin Booth said he estimated there would be 12 tonnes of truffles unearthed this season, worth about $20 million in retail value.

“It’s been a soft start to the season, so there’s an expectation the season will run long,” Mr Booth said.

He said the event and truffle industry had come a long way in the past seven years.

“We’ve crossed from an idea into an industry and the next decade is going to be really exciting,” he said.

He said he would like to see a continuation towards teamwork and collaboration between truffle growers.

“As a fledgling industry, we have a lot to overcome in disease and marketing,” he said.

“Manjimup has a unique position in the world of truffles, we’ll be an epicentre for the next 10 years but we shouldn’t squander that.”

Manjimup Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Kent Roberts said the Truffle Kerfuffle was one of the integral events that put Manjimup on the tourism map and had the added bonus of promoting one of the region’s agricultural industries.

“It promotes Manjimup and it’s a great event for bringing in people who live outside the area,” he said.

“I encourage local businesses, even those not in retail, to clean up if they can and look nice because we’re on show this weekend.”

Mr Beissel said the event had been built up into one that internationally-renowned chefs wanted to come to.

“They’re loving the Southern Forests and if we’re attracting that calibre of chefs, there’s something they see in what we’re doing,” he said.

Mr Beissel said that sort of attention was beneficial to the region as a whole and had already drawn millions of tourism dollars into the area.

Visit www.trufflekerfuffle.com.au for ticket and program information.

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