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article imageFirst U.K. farmed truffles grown

By Tim Sandle     Mar 13, 2015 in Food
Leicester - The first truffle to be cultivated on British soil has been harvested from a field from a farm in the county of Leicestershire.
Various truffles were planted by biologist Dr Paul Thomas throughout the U.K. The Leicestershire truffle, weighing in at 39 grams (1.4 ounces), is the first to be grown and harvested outside of the wild, according to the BBC. Truffles are grown wild in Britain, although they are not as widespread as across mainland Europe. Up until now, attempts to farm truffles has proved impossible. The vast majority of truffles eaten in Britain are imported from abroad.
The specimen grown in the U.K. is a burgundy truffle (Tuber aestivum syn. uncinatum). Truffles are found by dogs or pigs, that are trained to pick up the strong scent. The idea of foraging for truffles is a romantic one; however, in reality, the truffle industry is growing and consumer demand, especially with the popularity of French and Italian cooking, is growing.
Truffles is a term given to the fruiting body of types of subterranean Ascomycete fungi. Mostly these are of a type of fungus called Tuber. Many of these underground fungi are edible and, due to the complexity in locating them and their relative scarcity, some are highly prized. The most valued truffles are the white variety, such as Tuber magnatum pico (found in Northern Italy.
With the success of the first British farmed truffle, Dr Thomas believes that his other sites will also start producing truffles later this year. He is of the view that this could be the birth of a British truffle industry. If he is proved right, this would be a lucrative business with truffles selling for £400 per kilo in the U.K. (equivalent to $600 for 2 pounds in the U.S.)
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