Truffle festival celebrates Canterbury's black gold

Canterbury black truffles can fetch more than $3000 a kilogram.
Stacy Squires

Canterbury black truffles can fetch more than $3000 a kilogram.

New Zealand's first ever truffle festival will be held in Canterbury over July 11-18.

It's a rare public outing of the mysterious and elitist fungi, and will offer the curious plenty of chances to see what the fuss is about at farmers markets and restaurants.

Truffles grow in lime-rich soils in association with trees such as hazels, oaks and pines. They develop  powerful aromas and flavours and a little goes a long way. That's a good thing because New Zealand's black and white truffles sell for more than $3000 a kilo and are sold around the world.

The region's truffle growers are sponsoring the festival. Organiser and North Canterbury truffle grower Gareth Renowden says celebrates the coming of age of the New Zealand truffle business - and Canterbury's place on the global food and wine map.

North Canterbury has more truffle producers than any other part of the country. Its 15 truffle planations supply black, white and burgundy truffles to restaurants, lodges and hotels.

The festival begins with truffle tastings and sales at three farmers markets (Lyttelton, Christchurch and Amberley) on July 11.

Restaurants including Cuisine Restaurant of the Year Roots and Winery Restaurant of the Year Pegasus Bay will serve truffle dishes through the week. Other restaurants include Harlequin Public House, Saggio di Vino, Pescatore, Black Estate, Cornershop Bistro, Town Tonic and Passenger & Co.

The festival culminates the following weekend with a "truffle day out" in Waipara, truffle hunts, special truffle dinners and talks, and a truffle "open house" at Harlequin Public House on July 19 featuring truffle tastings and wine matches.

For more information see canterburytrufflesfestival.co.nz

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