Being given the opportunity to play tourist in my own home State (Western Australia) for a long weekend doesn’t happen very often, if at all. I have somehow fallen into the trap (through no fault but my own) into doing the same trip down south, to visit the same familiar wineries and the same familiar venues – this was never a conscious decision, rather I think my friends and I are creatures of habit.
Whenever we journey down south to Margaret River or Dunsborough, we go with the expectation of falling into a wonderfully familiar routine of eating, drinking and laughing – but this time, I wanted to experience something different and was eager to show my cousin (who’s visiting us from the US) what the beautiful South West has to offer. Surprisingly, there’s more to the region than just amazing wine.
Since she has a keen interest in mycology (the branch of biology concerned with the study of fungi – for those playing at home) and I can’t go past any menu item with truffle on it, we awoke at dawn to become amateur Truffle Hunters at The Truffle & Wine Co in Manjimup.
The morning was crisp, our carload was excited (even with the 6am morning wake-up) and the two hour scenic drive from Dunsborough seemed to fly by.
Let me start by saying that this is one of the most rewarding and educational foodie experiences I have ever had – we started the morning with a genuinely information rich session with our host, who explained the history of truffles, the history of the company and its place within the global marketplace. The Truffle & Wine Co is the largest producing truffière in the Southern Hemisphere and is favoured by a range of local and international chefs – and for good reason, the produce is stunning.
Following our introductory session, on we went to experience a hands-on approach to Truffle Hunting 101. Led by the (very adorable) Daphne the Truffle Dog, we waited but only a few short moments for her to signal she had found the holy black gold, which to my surprise lay only centimetres below the earth’s surface. With plastic trowel in hand, I seized the opportunity to be the first in our group to gently uncover the perfect golf-ball sized truffles that lay hidden below. An hour later we called it quits with a grand total of 1.3kg of truffles – we marked it off as a job well done and retired to the cellar door for some much deserved wine and a spot of lunch.
All round, a morning well spent. Thank you to the team at The Truffle & Wine Co for your wonderful hospitality, for sharing your knowledge and allowing us to be part of a truly memorable experience…we will be back.