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Company Profile - Truffle and Wine from Australia

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1. Tesi: Dear Stuart, you work for the company Truffle and Wine in Australia. Can you please tell me more about the history and the products of your company? 
Stuart: Hi Tesi. In 1997 a group of investors went out on a limb and had a crack at trufficulture. We are the first to try it in WA after NZ and Tassie saw some success in the years prior. In 1998 we also planted 12 hectares of vineyard to bring together the marriage of truffle and wine for the ultimate luxury. We now have a thriving fresh truffle, truffle product and wine business.
2. Tesi: I know wine from Australia but Truffle? Please tell me more about the idea and the journey to harvest truffle in Australia. What are the challenges and what are the differences to European truffles?
Stuart: Truffle is the third most expensive food item in the world behind saffron and caviar and harvests in Europe have declined rapidly over the last century from around 1000 tonnes per year to about 20 tonnes. Factors such as deforestation, acid rain, global warming and urbanization are believed to be the major factors, hence other regions are looking to cultivate it now instead. By inoculating seedlings root systems with truffle spores we are able to “infect” the tree with a fungus. We grow the French Perigord Black Truffle on 13,000 inoculated hazel and oak trees here in Manjimup. With our prized truffle dogs we venture out into the truffiere in the winter months to harvest ripe black truffle which we then export to countries such as France, North America, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan. The beauty of being in Australia is that we have opposite seasons to the northern hemisphere therefore we do not compete with the French or the Italians – the market is ours! Truffle from Manjimup is now becoming so popular that we can’t grow enough to meet demand even though we are the largest producer in the world at 3500kg per year. The flavour is recognized as the same or better than truffle grown in France.
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3. Tesi: Is there any typical Australian dish your wine and truffles matches the best?
Stuart: European food such as risottos and pasta are perfectly matched to the flavour of truffle traditionally. My favourite dish is local marron (freshwater lobster native to WA only) in truffle butter with a glass of Truffle Hill Chardonnay followed by our famous truffle icecream with a nice sticky Truffle Hill Cane Cut Riesling – YUM!!!
4. Tesi: What is your vision for the next five to ten years?
Stuart: To be the global leader in fresh truffle cultivation and be recognized for our fine wine range.
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5. Tesi: What does good food mean to you?
Stuart: Good food can only really be enjoyed with good company. I love grazing through the afternoons on some truffled brie and a glass of wine with my friends and family talking copious amounts of rubbish! 
Also plating and presentation has become more important than flavour recently with plates the size of a satellite dish with one mouthful of deconstructed food in the centre! Flavour and texture is king and should not be compromised for artistic expression. 
Thank you
Matthias Tesi Baur

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