Anthonij Rupert Wyne in Franschhoek is proudly the first wine estate in South Africa to both cultivate and produce black Perigord truffles, and a couple of weeks ago I was invited to join them on a hunt. These exceptional quality truffles are grown at their jaw-droppingly beautiful Altima Estate near Villiersdorp where the cool climate conditions are perfectly suited for the cultivation of these rare delicacies. The Oak tree roots which were inoculated with truffle spores and planted in September 2010 only started seeing fully grown truffles from 2017. Hanene van Dyk, the farm’s truffle hunter (also known as a Trufelau) who learnt her craft in Piedmont, Italy, took us on our hunt. She works closely with her specially-trained and uber cute Lagotto Romagnolo dogs to hunt for the truffles.
It was so interesting to get up close to this renowned culinary delicacy known as ‘black gold’, which is both scarce and incredibly expensive. Seeing and hearing about the process to produce and harvest them gave me a deeper understanding of why this is the case. I don’t enjoy truffle oil – which I found particularly overpowering but the flavour of fresh truffle is so much deeper and more subtle.
Anthonij Rupert Estate has launched their exclusive Truffle Lunches and experiences. You can enjoy a four-course, truffle inspired lunch every Friday and Saturday throughout the truffle season from 24 May until 20 July and to ensure an exclusive dining experience, each luncheon will be kept to a maximum of 10 people. The truffle season is much shorter than a typical European season. Whilst truffles are, of course, the centre of attention with each course, a sampling of estate-raised Black Angus beef is also included on the menu. Each course will be paired with Cape of Good Hope Wines, produced from the vineyards which frame the oak forests at Altima. Each Truffle Lunch is priced R950 per person, inclusive of paired wines.
For the true truffle connoisseur in search of the ultimate black gold adventure, the estate can be contacted directly to arrange an exclusive tour and truffle hunting experience at Altima. This includes transport from Anthonij Rupert Wyne in Franschhoek through the Franschhoek pass and into the exquisite Elandskloof Valley to Altima. The cost of this experience is R2500 per person.
In addition, a select range of estate-produced truffle products – including infused butter and truffle salt – will also be available for sale at the Terra del Capo Tasting Room from June 2019, subject to availability.
Here are a few pictures from the day.
*I was invited as a guest of Anthonij Rupert Wines
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