Just Drive, She Said
Setting off on Saturday morning, Charlotte and I realised that we were suddenly faced with the most. Technological. Road trip. Ever. Cords, chargers, iPods, cameras, phones, hair-straighteners - it was like the digital fairy had accidentally spilled the entire contents of her handbag into the back seat of our hired SVU. It didn't help that, for the first half hour of our drive, our GPS spoke French and we couldn't figure out how to change that. We nicknamed her 'Amelie', as that's the only French girl's name we know. "Arreter!" She would exclaim. "Stupide!", she would cry, which we could only assume means "Left!". Otherwise, our car was neatly kitted out (thank you, Avis), but once we'd figured out how to use the stereo (*scowls affectionately at digital fairy*), we realised that my iPod playlist just wasn't going to cut it. Solution? Stop at a servo and purchase a four-disc CD entitled School Disco Anthems. Why, yes, Vanilla Ice. We will stop, collaborate and listen. Thank you very much.
I'd also like to personally thank the Blue Mountains and nearby areas for being spastically beautiful. Anyone who doesn't think rolling hills, baby goats and silhouetted stark winter trees are worthy of a relaxed sigh or two is off the Christmas list. I mean it.
The Truffle Kerfuffle
Our first stop, which we arrived a little late to thanks to our basic human right to consume breakfast wraps, was in Oberon, just past the Blue Mountains, at the Lowes Mount Truffiere. For those of you who don't speak French like our GPS does, a 'truffiere' is a place you'll find hazelnut trees, adorable dogs, friendly proprietors like Col & Sue Roberts, truffles and omelettes. Literally translated from the French, then, 'truffiere' clearly means 'mind-blowingly awesome'. Happily and despite Amelie's lazy instructions, as we were nearing the truffiere, Blondie began to belt out "One Way Or Another" from the car stereo. Please note: changing the lyrics to "One way or another, I'm gonna find ya, I'm gonna eat ya, eat ya, eat ya, eat ya" is hilarious at this point.
We met labradorian truffle hunter extraordinaire Morris and his honey-coloured apprentice Sully, who both greeted us warmly with a brisk nose to the crotch.
Col & Sue looked at our flimsy, city-girl jackets as we set out on the hunt and expressed mild concern, but the you're-gonna-freeze-your-truffles-off message didn't really hit home until it started snowing. Freakin' snowing, man. It was novel to us, and hence exciting, but did you know that snow is FROZEN WATER?!? It's really cold. You should know that in case you ever see some.
Before long the doggies had literally hit paydirt, and a truffle that other truffles would probably address as "Yes, sir" presented itself in all its grubby glory. Charlotte was inspired by the spirit of truffle-dog, and immediately got her face in the dirt, because she is a glamorous fashionista. I have proof.
They don't half smell good, but.
After dragging the monster truffle back to the warm main building, we set about making you jealous, mostly by eating a freshly-cooked omelette made from a truffle-infused egg with shaved fresh black truffle on top. And some goats cheese drizzled with hazelnuts in truffle honey, followed by hazelnut brownies. I know. I know.
We didn't want to say goodbye to Col, Sue, the goggies and the delicious, delicious truffles, but of course we had to head to Bathurst for lunch. LUNCH. We'd already eaten more than a fat kid whose parents are away for the weekend. Which is why this trip is amazing.