A couple of months ago we received a sample from a truffle that was uncovered from Moncreiffe Primary School in Perth. We have since used DNA to determine the species, and the result is quite unexpected.
The darker side of truffles emerged last December as a French truffle farmer shot dead a suspected poacher. With the winter truffles prices soaring at the end of December, truffles are a highly prized crop. A serious decline in truffle production in recent years has further inflamed passions – at the end of the 19th century 2000 tonnes a year were being produced from France whereas now some experts say that only 50 tonnes a year are being harvested today.
Last month saw the annual Global Alba Truffle Action, medieval Castello di Grinzane in a part of Italy famous for its wine and truffles. This year’s largest white truffle weighed in at a gigantic 900g, with the lucky bidder eventually paying an enormous 105,000 Euros (£89,611.40). This worked out at 117 Euros per gram, which is a massive sum of money but, believe it or not, it is actually less than last year’s record price of 133 Euros per gram.