: Kathryn Elsesser / Oregon Truffle Festival

What’s All the Buzz About Oregon Truffles?

Book a guided truffle tour, follow the Truffle Trail or attend the Truffle Fest and watch a truffle dog at work.
October 11, 2016 (Updated December 28, 2023)

There’s just something about truffles — the earthy fungi, not the chocolate — that is all at once irresistible, seductive and perfectly paired with everything from scrambled eggs and pasta to cheese and beer.

Foraged by hand (or with the help of truffle dogs) from the ground in the shade of Douglas fir trees each fall and winter, wild black and white truffles are quintessential Oregon agricultural products that have in recent years been discovered by the rest of the culinary world.

Oregon’s climate is perfectly suited for their growth, so it’s become the epicenter of truffles outside of Europe, where they’re rooted in centuries-old French and Italian traditions. Mycologists at Oregon State University are also leading global developments in truffle research and cultivation methods. And food innovators here understand and embrace the truffle’s delicate seasonality.

This winter there are three terrific ways to immerse yourself in the world of Oregon truffles: Book a guided truffle tour, follow the Truffle Trail or attend the Truffle Fest and watch a truffle dog at work. Here’s how.

Garlicky, savory, smoky and chocolaty — these are just some of the ways people try to describe the taste of Oregon’s wild truffles. (Photo credit: Oregon Truffle Festival)

Book a Truffle Tour

Love the idea of foraging but don’t know how or where to start? The best way is to go with an expert guide, and Black Tie Tours is one of the only tours of its kind in Oregon.

The Newberg-based outfitter offers two options — both will teach truffle-hunting tips and etiquette, storage and care of truffles and include ways to prepare truffles at home in your own dishes. Both tours include transportation to and from downtown Newberg and some fresh truffles to take home.

The “Bougie Truffle Tromp” is offered on specific dates February through March. You can sign up to be part of a tour of 10 or fewer people for an adventure that includes truffle hunting with an expert and a guest winemaker; a catered lunch over a fire onsite with fresh truffles, paired winemaker pours during lunch and perhaps more time for foraging.

The “Rustic Truffle Tromp” includes the same overall experience but without the guest winemaker, and a simpler lunch of soup, sandwiches and charcuterie. A handful of dates are bookable for February through March, for groups of 8 to 12 guests. Expect a bit rougher terrain in this truffle forest.

Truffle meal
Look for Oregon black truffles popping up on menus across the state between January and March. (Photo credit: Oregon Truffle Festival)

Taste the Bounty With Truffle Events and the Truffle Trail

Many of the top restaurants, cafes and wineries in Newberg, Dundee and surrounding areas will feature truffles on their menus during the truffle season. This new Truffle Trail, hosted by Taste Newberg, helps visitors plot their tasting excursions in February and March to enjoy the best of Oregon’s black truffle bounty. Check the website for participating businesses.

The Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg is an excellent home base for truffle lovers during this time of year, which is also known as cellar season for wineries across Oregon. In late February, The Allison hosts the Oregon Chardonnay Celebration, a chance to sample wines from more than 50 of Oregon’s top chardonnay producers and get pairing tips from local sommeliers.

The luxury property will also host two weekend experiences (mid-February and late March) that include exclusive truffle hunts along with chef-prepared dinners at local wineries as well as the onsite restaurant JORY.

Many other local properties including The Dundee Hotel make for a great truffle-based getaway as well. The Dundee’s “Truffle Retreat” includes a 2-night stay, a truffle-inspired welcome dinner at Wooden Heart Kitchen, a truffle hunt with a winemaker-hosted lunch and a private truffle dinner with library wines from Dusky Goose. Book with the hotel directly.

Enthusiasts should mark their calendars for the Taste of Truffle event in Newberg in early March, with a full day of tastings, vendors and demonstrations dedicated to all things truffle.

Let an adorable pup guide you on a truffle-hunting adventure in the winter season. (Photo by: Kathryn Elsesser)

Watch Truffle Dogs at Work

The annual Oregon Truffle Festival, which includes a handful events February through March, is a great opportunity to dive into truffle culture.

The festival’s main event is the spectator-friendly Joriad North American Truffle Dog competition in Eugene, the only one of its kind in North America. You can grab tickets to this event to see truffle dogs from around the world compete to find truffle-scented targets in a forest. Other festival events are geared more toward truffle connoisseurs, with a weekend-long workshop, fungi immersion and truffle dog training event.

The truffle festival was founded with the aim of demystifying this luxe ingredient, which many Oregon chefs love to feature on their wintertime menus. Part of the appeal is the short window of ripeness and availability. Usually a rainier fall means a better truffle season ahead. Once the truffles are gone for the season, they can’t be fermented or preserved like produce; they can’t be frozen like meat or seafood. They can be infused, but only in limited quantities. Chefs have a timeline, and have to find creative ways to use the precious ingredient.


About The

Jen Anderson
Jen Anderson is a longtime journalist and travel writer/editor who is now Travel Oregon’s Content & Community Manager, helping to align content for visitors via social media, print and web. She’s called Oregon home for 25 years and loves finding the latest places to eat, drink and play around the state with her husband and two boys. Brewpubs, beaches and bike trails top the list.

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