ONE of the world’s most expensive ingredients has been cultivated near Edinburgh after a sever-year wait.
Researchers from Mycorrhizal Systems Ltd teamed up with local farmers to cultivate the summer or burgundy truffle. This is the first time the ingredient has been successfully cultivated in Scotland.
Researchers believe the potential to cultivate truffles is increasing as a result of climate change.
Support our Christmas campaign to make Edinburgh the Capital of Kindness - Sign up HERE
Last month, a number of truffles were harvested by newly trained dog, Maxwell, and his handler, Joyce - both part of a team trained by Tynewater K9.
The aromatic fungi were growing in the root system of native oak trees that had been treated to encourage truffle production at a secret location near Edinburgh.
Dr Paul Thomas, research associate of the university of Stirling and director of Mycorrhizal Systems Ltd, said: “This is a very highly regarded truffle species and the potential for Scotland is huge.
“We’ve achieved a number of world firsts and even harvested Mediterranean Perigord truffles in the UK earlier this year, but this Scottish advance inches us closer to our ultimate goal of the UK becoming pivotal in the global truffle industry.”
The summer or burgundy truffle is one of the most expensive delicacies in the world, with prices this season exceptionally high and reaching as much as £900 per kilogram.
Truffles are prized for their intense flavour and aroma, but their natural habitat in continental Europe has been affected by drought due to long-term climate change.
The truffle industry is projected to be worth £4.5 billion annually in the next 10 to 20 years.
The first harvested Scottish truffles were used for further training but the largest, which weighed 45 grams, was received by chef Tom Kitchen of the Michelin-starred The Kitchen restaurant in Leith.