The Wine & Truffle Company

Posted on September 13, 2009 by Aun

The highlight of our recent trip down under was a visit to The Wine & Truffle Company in Manjimup. Manjimup is approximately 4 hours (by car) south of Perth. And while that’s a bit further than most visitors would usually venture, a trip to this part of WA is well worth it.

Over the past few years, S and I have been really impressed with the quality of the truffles coming from this young but successful Australian truffery (and winery). Top chefs like Tetsuya Wakuda and Thomas Keller order truffles from them, so you know the quality is top-notch. And since the Australian seasons are the opposite of those in the Northern hemisphere, this means chefs working in America and Europe can now offer their guests what would normally be a Fall and Winter delicacy during their Spring and Summer.

The Wine & Truffle Company grows the French Perigord Black Truffle (Tuber melanosporum). This is the second most expensive truffle in the world–the most being the Italian White truffle (Tuber magnatum). Summer Truffles (both white and black varieties) and Chinese Black Truffles are entirely different species. When the folks at The Wine & Truffle Company first started cultivating black truffles, back in 1997, I think a lot of people thought they were crazy. Over the past 12 years though, they’ve silenced all critics. This year, they expect to produce over 900 kilos of truffles, much of which is exported directly to some of the world’s best restaurants.

S and I had a fabulous time visiting the truffery. They have a pretty wine tasting room–in addition to truffles, these guys make some pretty fabulous wines–and cafe, which, of course, offers some lovely dishes built around showcasing the company’s black truffles. S, for example, had a grilled cheese sandwich that was anything but simple. Made with truffled brie, the sandwich was bursting with fresh shavings of pungent and delicious truffle. I had a parmesan crusted chicken stuffed with homemade truffle butter.

The best part of our visit was being allowed to go on a short truffle hunt. We were accompanied by a fun-loving, happy-as-can-be, and really friendly little black labrador (and of course a couple of her handlers who watched us more carefully than they watched her–I suspect they knew I wanted to try stealing some of these expensive tubers). Roxy the lab was simply amazing to watch. We were taken into the company’s truffle farm, where they’ve planted over 13,000 hazelnut and oak trees. Each of these trees’ roots were dipped in a special spore solution before being planted. This, we were told, in addition to the perfect Western Australian climate, is what creates the preconditions for truffle production.

Within minutes of walking into the truffery, Roxy stopped, sniffed the ground and tapped her paw very visibly on a spot. She then looked up at her handler, waiting for a treat. Checking the spot where she tapped, we were amazed to see the top of a big black truffle the size of my palm, peeking out. This wonder dog repeated this amazing feat over and over again over the next hour or so. It was astounding. She must have sussed out several thousands of dollars worth of truffles right in front of S and me. Unfortunately, both Roxy and her handlers were much faster than me and I never got the opportunity to pinch a few for myself (I did, however, get to buy some of the truffles we found that day at a special cellar door/truffery door price so I was pretty satisfied).

If you want to check out what the truffle hunt looks like, please click over to this link: http://wineandtruffle.com.au/trufflehunt_video.

The WA truffle season is their Fall and Winter, approximately April through June/July. You can register to go along on a real truffle hunt through the Wine & Truffle Company’s website or, starting next year, they will actually be running simulated hunts all year round. In addition to Roxy, we also met a handsome black lab named Errol and a smart-looking yellow lab named Skye. I am sure every child would be thrilled to go on a hunt with one of these sweet pups. I know that the kid in me wanted to hug Roxy repeatedly during our short excursion.

The Wine & Truffle Company has several international distributors, as well as an online shop.

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his bouncing baby boy!

What Others Are Saying

  1. riya September 13, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    Thanks. Very Good Read.

  2. Chris September 14, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Love fresh Truffle and Truffle Oil, just can’t get enough at times. Still got to go one day for such a hunt!

  3. Shauna from Piece of Cake September 15, 2009 at 6:24 am

    What? What’s that? I’m sorry, I wasn’t paying attention. I was too busy licking my screen because of your lead photo.

    Great post!

  4. Heather September 18, 2009 at 9:12 am

    I can’t get enough truffle. It’s expensive but always worth it.

    I’d like to share a website I’ve found with you guys. Click on my name to get to it. It’s the best wine review site I’ve found. Chris is a great reviewer. He’s casual, yet informative. You won’t find anyone better!

    Cheers!
    Heather

  5. Yii Zhu September 27, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    i hope it is as good as it sounds! i’ve ordered a couple of gift packs for friends and even one for myself. can’t wait to get my hands on it! thanks for the recommendation.

    cheers,
    YZ

  6. ChubbyChineseGirl September 29, 2009 at 4:43 am

    love truffle! I’m drooling as I’m reading

  7. Scott October 9, 2009 at 3:21 am

    What a fun adventure! And the grilled truffled brie sandwich sounds outstanding. I love Truffle Tremor, a ripened, truffled goat cheese from Cypress Grove in California. I’ve never thought to make a grilled cheese sandwich with it, but the seed has been planted. Thanks

  8. Geoffrey Wu October 11, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Your photo of the Truffled Brie Sandwich is quite possibly the most mouth-watering thing I have seen this morning. Absolutely love your blog and please keep it up.

    I am a fellow foodie in Hong Kong and will add your blog to my favourite daily reads.

    Come and check out my food blog & fan page as below:

    Follow Geoff’s Twitchen: http://geoffstwitchen.blogspot.com/

    Follow Geoff’s Twitchen Fan Page on http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/pages/Geoffs-Twitchen/128763959419?ref=ts

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