Char­ity rakes it in af­ter woman finds truf­fle in gar­den

The Herald - - NEWS - LIAM ROSS

A WOMAN un­know­ingly pulled a white truf­fle from her gar­den – that would have been worth thou­sands had she left it to grow.

The dis­cov­ery – de­scribed by a chef as one in 200,000,000 in Scot­land – was made in a gar­den in the Por­to­bello area of Ed­in­burgh. The woman, who does not want to be iden­ti­fied, took the item to a res­tau­rant where it was con­firmed as an Alba truf­fle, usu­ally dug up in Italy.

Fully ma­tured, the truf­fle is worth around £7,500 a pound but the highly-prized ed­i­ble fun­gus was still de­vel­op­ing. De­spite that, Camp­bell Mickel, owner of Me­rienda res­tau­rant in Ed­in­burgh, is serv­ing the truf­fle on dishes for char­ity.

The fin­der was gar­den­ing, giv­ing the veg­etable patch an “over­haul”, when she dis­cov­ered the odd ob­ject in her rake.

The fin­der, who wishes to re­main anony­mous, posted on so­cial me­dia on Sun­day: “Has any­one else found white truffles grow­ing in their back gar­den? I think I have!

“It looks just like this pic­ture and smells weird.”

Once pic­tures were posted on Face­book, sev­eral peo­ple of­fered their insight as to what it could be. One user said: “Yep. Looks like a truf­fle. Is it grow­ing out of the tree roots?” An­other ar­gued: “I am not con­vinced that is truf­fle, been a chef all my life and I am not sure.”

Even­tu­ally, Mr Mickel re­ceived a call and vis­ited the woman to check for him­self.

He said: “It’s one in 200 mil­lion. It’s off the charts that this has been found.

“I jumped into the car as soon I got the call and went down to see for my­self pretty quickly.

“It was quite a young truf­fle and it had been out of the ground so it was im­per­a­tive we used it be­fore it was too late.”

The truf­fle is be­ing served as part of Me­rienda’s Hot Potato and Roast Parsnip Air with pro­ceeds of the dish be­ing do­nated to baby be­reave­ment char­ity SIMBA.

The truf­fle fin­der said: “I can’t be­lieve I found a truf­fle in my back gar­den.

“I was giv­ing the veg­etable patch an au­tumn over­haul and I just raked it up.”

The gar­dener ex­plained why us­ing the truf­fle for char­ity meant so much to her. Re­fer­ring to the death of her nephew, she said: “The truf­fle is named af­ter my sweet lit­tle nephew Luca, a very spe­cial boy with amaz­ing spark and char­ac­ter and re­silience, our tiny, pre­cious lo­cal hero.”

„ White truffles are highly prized by gourmets and chefs.

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