We were thrilled to get down and dirty at a truffle hunt in Manjimup at the annual Truffle Kerfuffle!
Our encounter with the black truffle was exciting on a number of fronts; we learnt about a new food, and we learn how to HUNT them… a real element of excitement that you don’t get if you are, say, fruit picking.
We also learned that there is a whole mythology surrounding the black truffle, way back to the days of Mesopotamia. The black truffle were a food reserved only for the rich; and through the centuries and have been associated with wizardry and witches, in part due to the difficulties of being able to find them as these fungus only grew in the wild.
Originally truffles were hunted by pigs, which are greatly attracted to the musty sensual aroma of the truffle, but could remove the fingers of people who were hunting with them and were loath to let go of their find. Dogs have no such qualms; they are not so interested in the truffle but the treats that their handlers give them.
It is the mythology that surrounds the black truffle that makes it so exciting. We were delighted to go on a truffle hunt to go find them; there is still an air of special-ness and privilege! How do you find them then? Essentially this is the answer: have well trained truffle dogs. They run sniffing through the orchards of oak and hazelnuts, and arrive at a tree that looks like any other tree, and scratch on the ground. Then, the truffle hunters, in this case us, begins to get down on all fours and SMELL the dirt for the pungent aroma of the truffle and dig in that spot.
Enthusiastic digging in the ground couldn’t be more perfect for kids! Our 3.5year old called it “Searching for treasure” and he didn’t know how close to the truth he was! Our group pulled out of the ground truffles they were worth several hundred dollars (AU) (The Black Truffle sells for approx. $2500 AU a kilogram!)
We were delighted to dig up some truffles and run in the orchard, we were greatly impressed by Gabby the truffle dog, and the presentation from Gavin Booth of Australian Truffle Traders. All through the weekend, the powerful relationship and rapport of the dog handlers and the truffle dogs was evident and a delight to watch!
The black truffle is a new industry in Manjimup, Western Australia and in just over a decade it has grown to produce 70% of Australia’s truffle production. The development of the industry in orchards has centred on the Manjimup area, and the use of dogs rather than pigs finding the truffles.
Apart from doing a Truffle Hunt, the Truffle Kerfuffle is a glorious celebration of winter and southern produce food. This is the kind of event that is both fun, but deeply fulfilling on an educational level; (whether you be in Western Australia or anywhere in the world) as you discover new foods grown locally, learn about the people that grow this food, and how to use those products to spice up your own kitchen!
More information about the Truffle Kerfuffle
Tickets, and extra activity information can be found at the Truffle Kerfuffle website.
If you just want to enjoy a fun Winter Festival with your family, check out The Truffle Kerfuffle with Kids
Heading further south after a Truffle Hunt?
Check out our range of different posts about the south coast of Western Australia
Walpole is the ideal destination for a nature based holiday and we thoroughly love it for its clean air and isolation; there are lots of Things to do in Walpole for Kids
One of the highlights of the Walpole region is the Tree Top Walk, here are our top tips for Top Tips to visit the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk with Kids
Finally, you can fit in a full day between Manjimup and Walpole and should consider the Best places to stay near the Tree Top Walk
Disclosure: We received a sponsored visit from Australian Truffle Traders & the Truffle Kerfuffle, but we were not compensated in any way to write this post. All travel and associated travel costs (meals) were paid for us and all opinions, as always, are our own.