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The ultimate foodie day out for dog lovers

Beatrice Smith

Dogs are really having a moment.

From the plethora of adorable dog Instagram accounts to dating events with canine companions in tow, it’s no longer the case that man’s best friend has to be left outside.

However, even if you’re a doggy fanatic, you might have missed that Canberra hosts the most adorable canine event of the calendar each June—The Blessing of the Truffle Dogs.

No, this isn’t a ceremony for your dogs. This is an event reserved for the very special truffle dogs who find Canberra’s famous ‘black gold’ each winter.

Held on Sunday 17 June, The Blessing of the Truffle Dogs kicks off the annual Canberra Region Truffle Festival, a three-month-long spectacular of foraging, finding and feasting. Encompassing over 200 events, the Festival spans the entire Canberra region with providores, trufferies, restaurants, cafes, shopping centres and markets all boasting foodie events centred around those elusive black nuggets.

But back to the dogs, if you please. Owner of Tarago Truffles (which hosts the Blessing each year), Anne Sturgiss, says the event is a joyous and indulgent way to welcome back the season.

“Once we’ve all gathered, we walk up to the trufferie to a fence post just inside the gateway where Professor Tom Frame will welcome everyone and introduce the dogs. He’ll then proceed to conduct a small ceremony where he’ll bless the dogs and seek the blessing of the harvest.”

If you’re wondering what this looks like, picture a fully-grown dog perched gracefully on a single farm fence post. Very cute and a very unique photo opportunity. #poochonaperch

“Once that’s finished we split the dogs and people up into six or so groups and have a hunt,” explains Anne.

On the hunt, you’ll get to see the doggies in action as they follow the pungent (to them) scent of truffles, which, for newcomers, are usually detected in the soil near trees.

Tarago Truffles’ Border Collie cross Dusty is just one of the pooches being blessed this year, Anne adding wryly that “she performs a bit…she’s always the star of whatever show she’s in”. Dusty has even been practising her leap onto the fence post in the lead up to the big day.

“Once that’s finished, we come down and have a celebratory lunch,” says Anne. “Travis and Steph from Woodbrook catering are doing the lunch and they’ve infused everything with truffle.”

Guests can expect a selection of soups, vegetable and meat dishes and, of course, truffle butter, all matched with local wines. As you might expect, there will be no shortage of fresh truffle available on the day, with guests also having the chance to bid on a Tarago truffle, with auction proceeds going to the local Anglican archdiocese.

If you’re unable to make the Blessing on 17 June, don’t fret. Tarago (as well as many other trufferies) will be holding regular truffle hunts and events throughout June, July and August. See the full festival program here.

the essentials

What: The Blessing of the Truffle Dogs – part of The 2018 Canberra Region Truffle Festival
When: Sunday 17 June from 11 am – 3 pm
Where: Tarago Truffles, 173 Wilandra Lane, Tarago, NSW (about an hour from Canberra)
Cost: $135 per person, includes a truffle hunt and lunch
More information and tickets: trufflefestival.com.au/event/blessing-of-the-truffle-dogs

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Beatrice Smith

Bea loves that her job as HerCanberra’s Online Editor involves eating, drinking and interviewing people - sometimes simultaneously. The master of HerCanberra’s publishing schedule, she’s usually found hunched over a huge calendar muttering to herself about content balance. Otherwise, you’ll find her at the movies or ordering a cheese board. More about the Author

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