It’s basically still summer, so we forgive you for not having your truffle head in the game. But on September 1, the Oregon Truffle Festival, epicenter for all things mycological, launched ticket sales for its winter gala. And when that thick, cold truffle funk starts wafting up the Willamette Valley in January, you don’t want to be caught without a mushroom-sniffing dog.
What’s different this year? In 2018, OTF began operating as a 501(c)3 with an expanded focus on year-round education and training options. But beyond that, the festival’s events, which come in packages and à la carte between January and February, remains a crazy-fun time for eaters, drinkers, agritourists, and sporting dog enthusiasts alike. Here are a few that have our truffle senses tingling.
1. Ever wished your dog brought food to you, instead of the other way around? At Eugene’s Joriad North American Truffle Dog Championship (January 24), participants and observers will get a chance to watch world-class truffle-hunting dogs qualify for the championship round. If you think your dog has the right stuff, you can bring the pup for a two-day training following the big competition
2. Sick of losing thousands of dollars on your “black gold” addiction? Get in on the action at the Grower’s Forum on January 25 and 26. Featured truffle experts Dr. Shannon Berch, Jim Trappe, and Dr. Charles Lefevre will talk cutting-edge scientific advances, take you out in the field, and lard you with a truffle luncheon.
3. A respectable choice for those lacking both dogs and any growing acumen is the Grand Truffle Dinner (January 26). This $240 event can be attended as a standalone experience or paired with other festival events. The dinner includes a six-course meal made up of Winter White and Black truffles paired with Oregon wines, prepared by six guest chefs including Portland faves Greg and Gabi Denton (Ox, Bistro Agnes) and Gregory Gourdet (Departure).
Check the festival website for the full schedule.