Beagle digs up a New Zealand first

ANNA TURNER
Last updated 05:01 19/07/2012
  	 Gareth Renowden
DON SCOTT/Fairfax NZ

HAPPY FIND: Truffiere Gareth Renowden, left, and his truffle dog Rosie have dug up a 330g burgundy truffle that chef Jonny Schwass will cook up in a 10-course dinner on Friday.

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New Zealand's first burgundy truffle, worth $330, has been dug up in Canterbury.

Grown by truffiere Gareth Renowden on his Waipara farm, the "beautiful" truffle is believed to be the first of its kind to be sold in New Zealand.

"It's New Zealand's first big, ripe burgundy truffle and it has a delicious smell to it," Renowden said.

The 330-gram truffle was dug up by his 2-year-old beagle, Rosie.

"Most truffles are the size of about a golf ball and this one is the size of a baseball. It is pretty large.

"Rosie did very well," Renowden said.

He said the discovery of the truffle was "really exciting" for the farm, which had suffered some disappointing harvests over the past few years.

"Previously we just grew black truffles, but after this harvest we're the first in the country to have all three kinds of truffles. We're very happy."

After the truffle was unearthed, Renowden put a picture of the delicacy on Facebook. Christchurch chef Jonny Schwass commented within minutes, writing "sold".

"It had his name all over it," Renowden said.

He said Burgundy truffles were worth about $1 a gram.

Schwass will use the truffle at an exclusive 10-course dinner on Friday night.

The dinner will also feature black and white truffles from Renowden's farm. Renowden will attend the dinner.

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