Cafe Lerida, Collector

Enjoying the last few weeks of the annual Truffle festival in Canberra, we decided to head out 30 minutes from Canberra to Lerida Estate in Collector to sample their truffle menu. I’ve been wanting to check out Lerida truffle menu for awhile now, I saw it when the truffle festival first started but got a little busy and hadn’t been able to make it. I quite like how Lerida has approached this, instead of going full fancy with a truffle degustation or 63 degree eggs, Lerida has gone cafe style. Each of their truffle offerings are more basic, something you would normally eat for breakfast or brunch but with truffle added to it to enhance the flavours and change the profile. It really had a great impact on appreciating exactly what truffle adds to a dish when it’s added to dishes you’d eat more often day to day. It was quite affordable too! All their truffle goodies are priced at around $15 to $30, which is a far cry from most places taking part in the truffle festival. Its not so bad to spend this much if you want to try out truffles for the first time, plus you can try out some of their lovely wines as well!

We went a little wild and grabbed a few plates but all this only cost us about $60 between the two of us. Not bad for a truffle breakfast. Anyways, onwards to the food.

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First up, Truffled scrambled eggs on toasted sourdough ($16.50). This was only available between 10.30 and 11.30am and this made the whole trip quite a challenge, I normally don’t wake up on weekends until about 11am, so to get out of bed, shower, get ready and drive 50km all before 11.30am was a massive ask. I had to put my alarm on, on a weekend! Anyways, we kind of made it. We got there at around 11.35am, rushed over from the carpark and asked if they would still let us grab some delicious scrambled eggs. The Lerida staff went to check with the kitchen staff and they were nice enough to whip some up for us, really appreciate it! The truffle was really strong in this dish, and really made this taste absolutely amazing, each bite had this earthy smokiness that really goes fantastic with egg and I just couldn’t get enough. I originally thought the strong truffle flavours were because of their generous shaving of truffle but after some talk over social media with Lerida afterwards they actually told us they they keep their eggs with truffles to let the flavours to infuse, hence the eggs were super truffley. On top of the delicious truffle flavour, the eggs were cooked perfectly! It was super airy and fluffy as well.

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Next up we grabbed the Truffle Tasting Plate ($30) including cauliflower soup, truffled brie, truffled chicken terrine and sourdough bread. You can also just grab a serve of the cauliflower soup and bread by themselves for $16.5. We decided to get the tasting plate as we wanted to try out as much of their truffle offerings as possible. First off, we’ll start with the soup. Taste wise, really delicious! The soup was quite thick, it was really creamy and had a strong truffle taste to it as well. Not as strong as the truffle scrambled eggs but just enough for you to get the smokiness without overwhelming the flavours of the very mild cauliflower flavours. The mildness of the cauliflower really made this dish work, so the truffles could be more prominent, but without being overwhelming. Really nicely balanced.

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Truffle Tasting Plate ($30) including cauliflower soup, brie, chicken terrine and sourdough bread or individually, truffled chicken terrine with cornichons, onion marmalade, sourdough bread and salad ($30). So this is the chicken terrine portion of the tasting plate, again you can get it separately for $30, I’m pretty sure you’ll get more. I can’t imagine they’ll give you two slices for $30, seeing as the whole tasting plate is $30. Plus, I noticed we got truffle salami, its not on the tasting plates description nor can you get it by itself but it was super tasty, so glad we got to sample it! The chicken terrine was so tasty, it was quite mild but the smokiness of the truffle still came out and complimented the flavours of the chicken. The texture was also amazing! It was soft but had some bite to it. Probably the best terrine we’ve had in a very long time. The salami was equally as tasty. It had just enough spiciness to it to give it some kick but not too much that it overpowered the flavour of the meat and the truffle. Again the flavours of truffle were mild but it worked well in the grand scheme of things.

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To finish off, here is the brie from the Truffle Tasting Plate ($30) including cauliflower soup, brie, chicken terrine and sourdough bread or individually, truffled brie with crackers ($10). If you just want brie and crackers you can just grab it separately for $10. If you like brie and truffle you’ll love this, if you’re lukewarm to both of them, this is still totally worth trying. It was just so good! The cheese was perfectly squishy like any good brie should be and then in the centre you had a beautiful layer of truffle. The flavours of the truffle seemed to transfer through to the brie because it gave the whole thing some lovely smokiness, which appears to be the theme of this whole meal. The truffle brie along with some of the truffle salami or chicken terrine and some crackers were simply amazing!

This whole tasting plate made me want to go out and buy big blocks of truffle brie, salami and terrine!

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Finally, we grabbed the Truffled crème brûlée ($15). When I first saw this I was a little sadden by how small it was for $15 and then I cracked it opened and had a spoonful. It was absolutely amazing and totally worth every single cent. Not only was a perfectly made brulee that was silky smooth with a crackly sugar top but the sheer amount of truffle was unbelievable, the whole brulee probably had three or four tablespoons of shaved truffle in it or if it helps, it looks like 50% creamy brulee, 50% shave truffle bits. Flavour wise, the earthiness and smokiness of the truffle worked really well with the sweetness and creaminess of the creme brulee. After trying this, I kind of get why truffle desserts tend to be brulees, the flavours just compliment each other and work so well. Definitely worth trying out.

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Here is a shot of the centre of the creme brulee, it had so much truffle I believe it deserved a shot on its own. This picture doesn’t quite do the overall dessert justice because there was so much more truffle to it but I couldn’t get a better shot, it almost felt like 50/50 brulee and truffle.

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Finally our drink for the day, a Chai soy latte with cinnamon ($5.50). This was a lovely little drink to help us warm up from the cold winter mornings. Yep, it was almost noon and the sun was out and shining but in the shade or winter it was absolutely freezing still! I love chai soy latte, its like all these lovely chai spices and smells crossed with lovely nuttiness from the soy milk. The addition of some cinnamon actually added a whole new angle and flavour to the chai, I really enjoyed it. I might actually start sprinkling from cinnamon onto my instant chai lattes in the future!

This was an absolutely amazing truffle experience. If you’ve never had truffles before and want to try it out but don’t really want to fork out $30 for a plate or $100 plus for a degustation or set menu then this is definitely a good place to start. Lerida Cafe has truffle menu items that really focuses on the earthiness and smokiness of truffles and lets it shine in their cooking. Great way to start experimenting with truffles.

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