(KMTR) -- People from all over the world will gather in Eugene
this weekend, tantalizing their taste buds at this year's Oregon Truffle Festival.
Truffles can also refer to little chocolates, but the truffle being celebrated this weekend is a very special type of mushroom. It's so special that Oregon is known worldwide for its truffles. People from all over will visit the Eugene Hilton this weekend to learn about, cook and eat the delicacy. There will even be classes for folks looking to train their dogs to find truffles.
The truffle is very rare, which is the reason behind its high price tag, but culinary experts say there's something about the mushrooms that make the cost well worth it.
“They've been something that have been enjoyed by people as far back as the [ancient] Egyptians. They have an absolutely amazing natural aroma that is intoxicating,” says one of the event’s guest chefs, Robin Jackson. Jackson is the Head Chef at a restaurant in Canada. He’ll be teaching a couple of the cooking classes over the weekend.
The festival’s Culinary Director Charles Ruff says there’s a lot of reasons why the festival draws so many people.
“Oregon is a state with an incredibly unusual . . . natural bounty in the food world. I would say that people are coming to the festival because Oregon truffles, which are the only indigenous truffles really in America, are the culinary gem at the top of that, sort of, world of bounty," explains Ruff.
This is the second year the Eugene Hilton has played host to the Oregon Truffle Festival. The hotel’s General Manager Jody Hall says the hotel is completely booked. He expects upwards of a thousand people to pass through over the course of the weekend.
“Last year was a great success,” says Hall. “We had a great time and I believe the community had a great time and we just love hosting it. It needs to stay here and it needs to be a Eugene thing. We enjoy hosting it."
The weekend packages are pretty much sold out, but there are a couple of truffle-related events open to the public. One event is the Truffle Experience happening at the 5th Street Market on Friday, January 25. It starts at 5:00 PM and goes until 7:00 PM and will take place in the first floor courtyard. There, people will be able to smell, feel, and learn all about truffles and it's all free of charge.
Another event open to the public is actually a part of the Oregon Truffle Festival. It's called the Oregon Truffle Marketplace and will take place at the Eugene Hilton from to Admission is $15 which gets you cooking demonstrations, tastings, lectures and more.
To learn more about the Oregon Truffle Festival, visit their website at OregonTruffleFestival.com