Day 4 of Western Australia Trip, Truffle Hunting at Manjimup
After we booked all our accommodations for the trip, we started booking for the activities. However, somethings didn’t go as planned, we initially intended to go for the Moondyne Cave Experience tour at Margaret River the day we left Busselton but the cave was closed. It is supposed to be a caving experience where you get wet and dirty climbing and crawling around the cave.
We then lucked out by chancing upon Truffle Hunting Season at Manjimup and quickly signed up for it. The tours conducted by Truffle & Wine Co are only available during the winter season and during weekends only. It is really popular among the locals and you need to book way in advance! We booked almost a month in advance to secure the seats.
However, signing up for this tour means waking up really early for the drive down to Manjimup and it wasn’t the most efficient route for our 12 days journey as it is really close to Pemberton where we will be heading there towards the second half of the trip. It costs us AU$60 each for the truffle hunt and no, it does not include lunch and you cannot bring home the truffles you found.
We gathered here at their Cellar Door for a short introductory session and we learnt quite a fair bit about the history and growth of black winter truffle. We also got to try a little of the truffle and were really eager to get out hunting for them at this point! Before this session, we only associate truffle with truffle fries, but getting up close to learn about how truffle grow was an interesting experience!
Here is our truffle hunter and Daffy (truffle hunting dog)! Daffy is really camera shy and as she is young and inexperience, she can get a little distracted during the session.
First she is instructed to go find the truffle, the truffle hunter will usually asked her “Where are the Truffle, Daffy?” before Daffy go around sniffing for the black gold!
Once she finds it, she will start pawing the spot and sit at the side waiting for her reward.
We will then start scrapping the soil really gently while trying to uncover the truffles!
Can you see it already?! It is really hard to spot them as it looks like a clump of soil and we cannot be digging around it too vigorously for fear of damaging these prized pieces.
Tadah! If you are lucky, you can find a cluster of truffle in a spot! There are many chances for everyone to get their hands to try hunting for the truffle, I tried digging a couple of times and it is really exciting when you manage to dig for a huge one. But at times, you may end of finding really tiny ones too.
The most valuable size and shape are the ones rounded like a golf ball size. These are most valued by the top chefs around the world as they can be sliced into perfect circular pieces and plated beautiful on each dishes. The tiny ones will often be used to make condiments or for flavouring.
You definitely have to get your hands dirty to hunt for one!
While not hunting for truffle, we were all trying to play with Daffy and trying to get a good picture with her and I wasn’t too successful in that.
This is a perfect experience for kids too! Look at that cutie!
These are all the truffles hunted by the group! The going rate is AU$2.50 per gram. Can you imagine how much that basket is worth?
After hunting, we were treated by some wine tasting and some quick look around on their truffle infused condiments.
We made a reservation for lunch and if you didn’t, the guide will check with you again before the session begins. We had to decide on what’s for lunch before the start of each session and the food really yummy! Great for truffle fans! While waiting for our food, we also walked around and basked in the sun!
What a fabulous view for lunch!
We ordered the Appetizer and Wine Pairing Set #1 (AU$30) to share and really love it. The black truffle pate with liqueur shiraz jelly is the bomb, we didn’t had enough of the seared beef fillet with roasted vegetable, pine nuts and black truffle dressing and the black truffle infused brie gave us an idea on making it ourselves one day.
I ordered a Confit Duck with Black Truffle Potato Mash (AU$35) and expected a crispy duck confit. But this wasn’t too bad and the black truffle potato mash is awesome.
There was a Chef Special for that day, and he ordered the Beef Fillet salad (AU$30) and it was great!
If you are planning a trip in Western Australia during the winter months, please do not miss this experience! We really enjoyed ourselves and had such fabulous time there.