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Truffle dogs come with blessings for tasty blend of farming and tourism

Blessing of the truffle dogs at Tarago Truffles, that helped kick off the gourmet festival. The rain did not help the celebrants pictured but doubtless didn’t hurt the truffle growing enterprise The Rev Tom Frame, Goulburn Mulwaree Anglican Parish, officiated. Photo credit Martin Ollman and the Truffle Festival – Canberra Region.

The Blessing of the Dogs is quickly becoming a ritual in the truffle festival calendar. Now in its third year, it’s held around winter solstice, when the truffle harvest gains momentum.

This year over 100 locals, truffle lovers, truffle growers and their truffle dogs (in all their various shapes and sizes) gathered at Anne and Denzil Sturgiss’ property at Tarago Truffles for a traditional blessing by the local Anglican priest  Tom Frame before the holy pooches embarked on a communal truffle hunt.

The rain made for some muddy conditions but it didn’t dispel the enthusiasm. Truffle goers were treated to a three course truffle menu from 3seeds cooking school and wine from Lerida Estate. They were kept warm and dry in the marquee beside the fires.

For the Sturgiss family, this is the first hunt of the season and Denzil Sturgiss says even though they’ve been growing truffles for 14 years, he still gets a giddy sense of excitement before he embarks on the first truffle hunt.

“I clearly remember this first time I found my first truffle. I dug like a wombat, found the truffle, cover it over and ran to the gate to tell someone and then I ran back to check it was still there. I was behaving like a two year old rather than a 60 year old!”

The Sturgiss’ host public truffle hunts regularly throughout the season. Denzil says there is something special about combining this type of farming with tourism.

“We meet people from all walks of life, and I love the contagious anticipation felt by a group of visitors enjoying their first hunt and watching the exuberance of the dogs as they hunt for the truffle.”

This year, the Blessing of the Dogs was supported in funding from Goulburn Mulwaree Council. Mayor Geoff Kettle said the council was proud to be involved.

“The Truffle Festival is a fantastic annual event for the region, and one that Goulburn Mulwaree Council is extremely proud to support.”

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Truffle Festival – Canberra Region upcoming events in later June:

Wednesday 22 June  – C Dine Bar’s five course truffle dinner
Thursday 23 June  – Veuve Clicquot Truffle Dinner at the Hyatt (six course degustation).
Friday 24 June  –Pod Food’s Annual Truffle Dinner (seven course degustation).
Saturday 25 June  – Westfield Woden will host a Truffle Market Day where visitors can see live cooking demonstrations from local chefs, wine tastings, truffle hunt demonstrations, local market stalls, food sampling, free kids activities and lots of giveaways.
Saturday 25 June  – Canberra Truffles at the National Press Club (six course degustation).
Saturday 25 June  – Majura Valley Experience – a morning truffle hunt, wine and truffle brie tasting and then lunch at Pod Food.
Plenty of restaurants, cafes and wineries across the region offering truffle on the menu regularly plus places to buy fresh truffle for your own truffle
creations at home. For more information and to see a full calendar of events, visit

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