Press Centre

Ey, by gum, there's a truffle at the mill!

Asda has announced plans which could see Yorkshire become the truffle capital of Europe.

It is conducting a trial to see if the valuable and highly sought after gourmet fungi can be grown successfully near the M62. It’s part of the supermarket’s continuing campaign to bring posh food to thousands of ordinary customers – at prices they can afford.

Said Asda spokesman Drew Kirk: “ We want to make truffles as popular as Yorkshire Pudding or mushy peas. “Until now, truffles have been a food for millionaires but we want to make them affordable for mums, miners, milkmen by growing our own in the UK. “

A world shortage means that truffles often sell for thousands of pounds per kilo. Diners in top restaurants can pay over £50 just to have a few scrapings of truffles sprinkled over their dishes.

Until now, most truffles sold in the UK have been imported from France, Spain and Italy. Under the Asda trial, over 200 oak and beech trees whose roots have been impregnated with spores from the rare Perigord Black truffle fungus will be planted near Cridling Stubbs.

Other varieties of truffle are also being considered. The results won’t be seen for the next five years as the sweet-tasting fungus develops, drawing nutrients from the tree’s roots before producing the valuable truffles just below soil level.

If successful, the trial could lead to the planting of more extensive, commercial scale truffle forests in other parts of Yorkshire, creating a brand new industry for the area.

Said Asda’s Drew Kirk: “ Truffles are so rare and expensive that very few ordinary people have ever tasted them.

“ Growing them on a large scale in Yorkshire would boost supply and cut the cost of importing them, eventually pushing prices down to affordable levels.

“We don’t see why the finer things in life should be restricted to the well-to-do, so we’re going to take action now. “ Truffles have a pungent flavour, with a smell similar to freshly dug earth or mushrooms.

They need to be grown on limestone soils high in alkalinity. While normally used to compliment the flavours of highly expensive haute cuisine, initial test by Asda show that they also go extremely well with everyday food such as scrambled eggs and black pudding.

Posted in Press Centre on 01 November 2007