A couple of weeks ago, in pursuit of knowledge to be inserted into my next book on truffles, I was fortunate enough to be able to visit the Truffle & Wine Company‘s truffiere in Manjimup, Western Australia — said to be the most productive truffière in the world. The company is coy about revealing numbers, but the Manjimup region probably produced somewhere between 5 and 7 tonnes of Perigord black truffles this winter, and most of those came from the 13,000 trees in the Truffle & Wine Co plantation. At the peak of the harvest, the company was washing and grading as much as 200kg of truffle per day — almost certainly more than New Zealand’s total melanosporum harvest over the entire winter season.
The truffière was established in 1997 and produced its first truffles in 2003. There’s a picture of their first 1kg truffle in The Truffle Book. Since that book was published the Manjimup harvest has increased by leaps and bounds, and WA truffles are now exported around the world — including to France. It’s a fascinating demonstration of what is possible in a well-managed southern hemisphere truffière, and it’s no surprise that the number of truffle trees planted around Manjimup is increasing rapidly.
Also on display at Manjimup was the truffle aroma wheel developed by Professor Garry Lee of the University of Western Australia, launched at the recent Australian Truffle Growers Association conference in Tasmania.
I haven’t yet had a chance to discuss the aroma wheel with Professor Lee, but will do so soon. There will be more in the next book…
My thanks to Harry Eslick, who guided our little tour party around the truffière and answered almost all of my questions… 😉