Black Cat truffle hunt in Ballarat with 'feast and forage' format proves popular

Bounty: Melbourne resident Jodie Harvey looks triumphant with her truffle haul from the Black Cat Truffles feast and forage day, held on Sunday in Wattle Flat, just north of Ballarat. Picture: Kate Healy

Bounty: Melbourne resident Jodie Harvey looks triumphant with her truffle haul from the Black Cat Truffles feast and forage day, held on Sunday in Wattle Flat, just north of Ballarat. Picture: Kate Healy

Sniffers and snouts were at the ready to find the most succulent truffles Wattle Flat had to offer on Sunday.

Twenty-four people joined the hunt at Black Cat Truffles, before heading to a ‘feast’ at Craig’s Royal Hotel.

Andres Haas from Black Cat Truffles said while they only did the feast to forage event once a year, it was a way for patrons to see where produce comes from and how it’s used by restaurants.

“They like to see it as the truffle comes out of the ground, then see how it goes to the producer,” he said.  

“It’s that paddock to plate thing that is so popular at the moment.”

At Black Cat Truffles, black gold grows underground on the roots of about 1000 innoculated oak trees, and only become ripe in the cold.

With hunts every weekend, Mr Haas said their talented truffle dog Nala was acclimatised to the chill.  

“The dogs are used to working all through winter. In the five years we’ve been doing it, we’ve never had really bad weather,” he said. 

“It’s Ballarat: it rains for five minutes, clear for three, so you just dodge the drops.”