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Published April 3rd 2015
A real treat for gourmands in a relaxed, peaceful setting
Wooden floors, wine barrels and pared-back decor greet us as we entered the unassuming Truffle and Wine Co. cellar door and cafe on a Friday morning during summer in Manjimup. On display inside were a range of beautifully packaged truffled delicacies and Truffle Hill wines.
Quaff, hunt and indulge are recommended activities at the largest producer of black truffles in the world. As the truffle hunts were finished for the season, we got busy with the quaffing, followed by some indulging.
The 5-star James Halliday, multi-award winning winery has an extensive tasting list featuring 11 options and covering many palates. In the coming seasons the list is planned to be reduced and refined.
The 2014 Sparkling Pinot Noir was a great start and a fresh lively drop perfect for a summer's day. The soon-to-be released 2014 Reserve Chardonnay was another winner with subtle oak and a great fruity palate. Keep an eye on that one.
Moving onto the reds, the stand-outs for me were the 2012 Merlot, which was smooth and completely quaffable, as well as the 2011 Shiraz Cabernet Merlot with a good amount of spice and depth that would match well with venison.
We settled on a glass of Reserve Chardonnay to enjoy with our lunch and moved into the ample cafe overlooking the dam and trees. Plenty of seating is available inside with a shaded decking area as well as tables under the trees outside.
The simple menu offers entree, mains (with recommended wine pairings), kids and dessert options with plenty of truffle flavours incorporated.
It was a quiet day so service was prompt and attentive. We shared the Truffle Delight cheese platters to start, followed by mains. The platters had a great selection of cheeses along with pate, bread, olives, truffle oil and dukkah. The pate was flavourful without being too rich.
I chose the grilled beef sirloin salad with sweet potato, zucchini and rocket. As a gluten and dairy free diner I was pleased with the effort made to ensure my food was prepared correctly. Served with the zingy and delicious truffle mustard, the salad was truly tasty and the beef cooked to mouth-melting perfection.
The truffle chicken and leek pot pie came as a generous serve with a satisfyingly crunchy pastry top and flavourful filling, with garden salad on the side. It was a popular choice at our table.
With no time left for dessert I was able to quickly sample the truffle honey for a sweet treat. It was an interesting and decadent flavour which would add a truly gourmet touch to crusty bread.
Established in 1997, it's easy to see why the Truffle and Wine Co. just won an Australian Good Food and Travel Guide 2015 readers' choice award. There are now plans afoot for more truffle education, experiences and tasting opportunities in the future. An absolute must-do for all visitors to the Genuinely Southern Forest region.