A victory not to be truffled with

History has been made by a Sheffield University graduate who has cultivated the first ever truffle grown on British soil.

Dr Paul Thomas, who graduated in 2004 and started cultivated truffles a year later after appearing on Dragon’s Den, made the discovery – which signals the start of the UK truffle industry – in a six-year-old plantation in Leicestershire. The achievement is heralded as a huge step forward for British science.

Wild English truffles, prized fungi that grow in tree roots, sell for around £400/kg but have declined rapidly. His company Mycorrhizal Systems has developed a growing system and creates plantations with landowners worldwide.

“It was an incredible moment and me and the farmers were all jumping around and it felt so surreal,” said Dr Thomas, who has the largest network of truffle sites world-wide.

Dr Thomas said: “We made history. I’m thrilled. We now need more growing partners to help us raise the British truffle industry.”