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Friday, June 26, 2009

Truffled scrambled eggs, scones in Berrima and the Capital Country Truffle Festival, Canberra

Black winter truffles from Manjimup, Western Australia

Old socks and sex.

That, according to some, is the most accurate description of the smell of fresh truffles.

I'd never tried fresh truffles before which was why the first ever Capital Country Truffle Festival had me snuffling about the web like a truffle-hunting, errr... pig.

Truffles have been cultivated around Australia for several years now, and in the Canberra region there are now 30 truffle growers, on properties running from Robertson to Jindabyne. The lure of fresh truffles saw us organise a day trip to Canberra last weekend, a long drive that required an early start and a plan to congregate at my place for breakfast.

Scrambled eggs topped with black truffle and pain perdu

Mrs Pig Flyin texts me to advise that she and Pig Flyin will be bringing breakfast. I'm picturing takeaway crossiants or maybe a quick fry-up of bacon and eggs, so I'm taken aback when out comes a dark brown nugget of fresh truffle, a precious package delivered from Western Australia via Simon Johnson only the day before.

At $2,750 per kilogram, this truffle is not to be trifled with. I gladly surrender the kitchen to the expert hands of Pig Flyin and within minutes we're being served a breakfast of scrambled eggs with truffles, plus a pain perdu made with the Simon Johnson panettone, purchased on sale the week before.

Pig Flyin is still waiting on the arrival of his truffle shaver so we make do with a microplane. The truffle has an earthy musty aroma, and the fine shavings tend to melt on the tongue. The taste reminds me a little of black fungus, or cloud ear fungus, although the texture is completely different, all soft and velvety. The pain perdu, or French toast, is fluffy and light, like a pillow of eggy sponge. We also shared a fried egg, an egg which has been stored with the truffle for a subtle imparting of truffle flavour.

We pile into two cars, along with L and M, and head toward Canberra, a pit-stop planned at Berrima to break the journey.

The Old Bakery Tea Rooms

Somehow we always end up at the Old Bakery Tea Rooms.

The cottage

Inside the tea room

Old iron (it was really heavy!)

Crayons for the kids (and kids at heart)

Despite having barely digested breakfast, was I ever going to just have a cup of tea? Unlikely. The scones at The Old Bakery Tea Rooms are renowned. For good reason.

Devonshire tea $7.80
Two hot scones with fresh cream, jam and tea or coffee

Large flat white

Scones with jam and cream

The scones. They stand exceedingly tall and proud, their tops dusted with a light smattering of flour. The scones don't have the moist cakey texture one sometimes finds in recipes that include lemonade and cream. These are much lighter, more delicate and airier, clouds which we slather mercilessly with strawberry jam and then dollop with cream.

Jam then cream, or cream then jam?

As we tuck into our still-warm scones, I note that some of us vary in our jam and cream order. I've always thought one should spread the jam first so one can achieve an even layer, and then slap on spoonfuls of cream with carefree abandon. The jam on cream version seems a little trickier to manage although it does seem to make a prettier photo.

Is there a set scone etiquette for the order in which jam and cream should be applied?

Who's your Sugar Daddy?

Whilst the others make a detour via Mrs Oldbucks Pantry, I make a quick dash into Sugar Daddy's Cake Design, whose sign I'd casually noticed on our way to the Tea Room.

Printed muffin papers

It's a baking lover's dream. Cupcake papers, cookie cutters, icing tools and more...

Wedding cake kitchen timers on a cake plate

Cupcake stand

Clam shell stand for petit fours

I restrain myself to a snowflake cookie cutter ($3.90) even though there's plenty more I want to purchase. And we hit the road again, toward Canberra, and a four course truffle lunch at Senso.

The Capital Country Truffle Festival continues in Canberra until July 11, 2009. Check the events schedule as well as the list of participating restaurants for more. You can also join a truffle hunt and watch the truffle dogs in action!

View Larger Map

The Old Bakery Tea Room
Wingecarribee St, Berrima
Tel: +61 (02) 4877 1343

View Larger Map

Sugar Daddy's Cake Design
Armfield Cottage
3/13 Old Hume Highway, Berrima
Tel: +61 (02) 4877 2554

Read the next post: Truffle lunch at Senso

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Canberra Truffle Festival Part 1: Truffles for breakfast, scones from morning tea
Canberra Truffle Festival Part 2: Truffle lunch at Senso Restaurant
Canberra Truffle Festival Part 3: Dinner at Mecca Bah

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14 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 6/26/2009 12:48:00 am


  • At 6/26/2009 1:08 am, Anonymous Yas said…

    I like the name of their business LOL

    Man what is it about truffles on eggs. I LOVE EM.

  • At 6/26/2009 8:22 am, Blogger Stephcookie said…

    Wow the truffled scrambled eggs look spectacular, what a fabulous breakfast to be brought! Love the scones at the tea rooms, they get such great height on them! I'm definitely a jam-then-cream person but you're right, it does look rather pretty the other way around. I don't think there should be a right or wrong way, just do whatever floats your boat :)

  • At 6/26/2009 10:09 am, Anonymous shez said…

    Oh boy... that breakfast looks amazing! And re scones? I'm definitely a "jam then dollop of cream" type of person. I'd never even seen it done any other way (til now!)

  • At 6/26/2009 1:59 pm, Anonymous Arwen from Hoglet K said…

    It would be so much easier to get up early if you knew a breakfast like that was arriving! The cake design shop looks like such a fun place to visit. I like the idea of going truffle hunting with the truffle dogs too!

  • At 6/26/2009 3:24 pm, Blogger Annette Piper said…

    OK, my palate is obviously uneducated, but truffles don't sound that amazing (of course that could just be the decriptions!) The scones on the other hand look scrumptious :)

  • At 6/26/2009 7:23 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    The truffle breakfast sounds amazing. As for the scone jam/cream ettiquetted - I have only learnt since moving to the UK that the preference stems from different counties in England. There is the Cornish method of jam first and then cream and the other way of cream first and then jam is from Devon (the spiritual home really of the Devonshire tea).

  • At 6/26/2009 10:56 pm, Anonymous Rachel said…

    Jam on top - Devon; cream on top - Cornwall. By a startling coincidence, I came across this information for the first time just yesterday. Of course, clotted cream, which is what they use in the West Country, is very thick, almost buttery, so putting the jam on top makes some sense.

    Love your blog - I usually lurk, but today I just had to comment on the jam and cream. I live half an hour from Berrima, but didn't know about the cake decorating shop. Guess where I'm heading tomorrow!

  • At 6/27/2009 12:48 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Berrima Bakehouse Scones! How I love them :D I had some last time I went on a road trip there.

  • At 6/27/2009 7:43 pm, Blogger Zoe said…

    Oh, I wish I'd known you were all coming to town! Next time, we'll cook up something special for you :)

  • At 6/27/2009 8:01 pm, Blogger Y said…

    That cake design store looks fab. Thanks for the tip :)

    And those scones remind me of the ones mom used to get for us when we were kids. So many tasty memories...

  • At 6/27/2009 11:02 pm, Blogger Bean Sprout's Cafe said…

    I love Tea room! got chance to try one in Melbourne but not here yet. I am cream-then-jam type.. (but wouldnt mind the other way around) but also like to eat it with coffee..hehe

    The baking things are so cute !

  • At 6/28/2009 10:55 pm, Anonymous Simon said…

    Why am I not surprised that when pigflyin' is involved, that there is some culinary greatness to be had.

    I was looking to go one weekend but July 11th doesn't leave much time...

  • At 6/28/2009 11:13 pm, Blogger Suyin said…

    So pretty! Those cupcake liners! :)

  • At 6/29/2009 3:36 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Yas - Hehe, you gotta love a quirky business name. And it was my first time having truffles on eggs. Could certainly getted used to having more in future - gotta find my own sugar daddy. lol

    Hi Stephcookie - Isn't a tall and lofty scone a thing of beauty? It sounds like Gourmet Chick's and Rachel's comments below sheds some light on the jam and cream order preference too. Oh I do love to wonder about the little things!

    Hi Shez - I've always been a jam then cream person too. A friend of mine did it the other way around which did get me wondering...

    Hi Arwen - Ha who wouldn't want a travelling chef to cook you breakfast! I love all kinds of kitchenware shopping and I wished I could've gone truffle hunting. Sounded like so much fun!

    Hi Annette - We had the pleasure of a four-course lunch with truffles and I did start to see the appeal. And scones - who can ever resist!

    Hi Gourmet Chick - Ahh thanks for the info. I had no idea there was such a geographic variance. The joys of food blogging - a knowledgeable reader audience!

    Hi Rachel - That is a coincedence and thanks so much for making the effort to let us all know :)

    Good on you for de-lurking too. Now you've made your first comment, there's no stopping you right? lol. And that's a nice coincedence that you live only a half-hour away from Berrima. The cake shop is quite the hidden gem!

    Hi Ten - The scones are great aren't they? I love the homestead country feel to the place too.

    Hi Zoe - lol. That's so hospitable of you :)

    Hi Y - Oh lucky you having a Mum with such great taste :) And I love cakeware shops - the cookie cutter section always holds my attention for ages!

    Hi Bean Sprout's Cafe - Oh you must get to some tea rooms around Sydney :) I find coffee overwhelms the flavour of the scones but hmm maybe that would just be an excuse to pile on even more jam and cream!

    Hi Simon - Tasty food and overall deliciousness is never far away whenever Pig Flyin is involved! And there's no time like the present - the truffle season is short so get there while you can :)

    Hi Syn - They're very pretty aren't they? I always feel like pretty liners are too good to use :)


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