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Climate change could spell trouble for truffles

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 02:09s - Published < > Embed
Climate change could spell trouble for truffles

Climate change could spell trouble for truffles

European truffle production could end as early as 2071 due to climate change, an academic and commercial truffle expert has warned.

Katie Gregory reports.


Climate change could spell trouble for truffles

They are one of the rarest and most expensive commodities in the culinary world... Coveted by chefs and restaurant-goers... PETER McKENNA, CHEF & OWNER, THE GANNET, SAYING; "It's totally unique you know - so from that view point it just adds so much depth.

So much character to a dish, it takes over a dish... It's the perfect ingredient." Black and white truffles are types of fungus that grow sporadically on the roots of certain trees .... it takes specially trained scent dogs to find them.

Truffle farming is so famous in some communities in Spain, France and Italy - they hold festivals and events to celebrate the season.

So the last place you'd expect to see a truffle plantation of this size is in a field in Scotland... We're on a truffle hunt with Dr Paul Thomas... who's led the first study into climate change and it's impact on truffle production.

With concern climate change will wipe out supply in the southern European nations... Dr Thomas believes the UK could be a new home for truffle production.

Using 36 years of climate data he found truffle production in Spain, France and Italy is likely to decline between 78 and 100% from the years 2071-2100.

DR PAUL THOMAS, DIRECTOR, MYCORRHIZAL SYSTEMS Ltd, SAYING; "It looks like the UK is probably going to fare quite well - because our rainfall levels will get a little bit more in some areas... and less in the Summer in the East.

So the West and sort of central and especially up to Scotland should fare quite well in terms of truffle production.

And truffle production will probably move across Europe towards more Germany, Austria, Poland." Already truffle supply can't meet demand - which is why they are so expensive... on average a kilo of truffles costs upwards of 1-thousand U.S. dollars.

And the UK still has a long way to go to catch up to Europe.

DR PAUL THOMAS, DIRECTOR, MYCORRHIZAL SYSTEMS Ltd, SAYING; "We have to plant, hundreds of thousands of hectares now, to offset that.

And there's not the land for it - there's not the political will for it - there's not the finances for it.

So truffles will survive in small pockets but it won't be on the scale we've got today." Keen "foodies" are getting used to seeing truffle on a menu... and while 2071 seems like a long way off.... The work going on in this field could mean we'll be able to enjoy this elusive ingredient for centuries to come.

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