A little-known potato variety known as the "caviar of the potato world" will make its British debut this week.
La Bonnotte, a type normally grown only on a small island off the French coast, can sell for up to £400 a kilogram. But Tesco has sourced a new supply grown on Jersey, and will be selling them from tomorrow for just £2.65 a kilogram. La Bonnotte commands its high price because of its rarity and the way in which it is picked. Usually only around 20 tonnes are grown each year and they are handpicked because they are too fragile to be harvested by machine.
Andy Blackett, Tesco's senior potato buyer, said: "La Bonnotte are the caviar of the potato world and kilo for kilo are among the planet's most expensive foods along with white truffles, saffron, macadamia nuts and Beluga caviar. "The French normally snap most of them up as soon as they become available and occasionally they are offered to top restaurants over here, but to get such a large quantity is a real coup."
La Bonnotte used to be exclusively grown on Noirmoutier, a tiny island off the coast of the Pays de la Loire region in western France. But recently they have been grown on Jersey, which has the same climate and similar growing conditions, in order to preserve Noirmoutier's soil for the future.
They get their distinctive flavour from the island's soil, the sea air and the seaweed used as a fertiliser. La Bonnotte potatoes are said to have a hint of sea salt in their taste, from the seaweed, and a suggestion of lemon.
The potato is so delicate that it is hand-picked to avoid damage when the tuber is removed from the stem.
The introduction of high-end potatoes into the British market comes days after Morrisons said it would sell fresh Italian truffles at its flagship store in Leeds.
The black summer truffles from Umbria, one of the most exclusive foods in the world, are being sold for £99.99 a kilogram. The retail chain is understood to have sold more than 100 individual truffles in the past two weeks, to both restaurateurs and the general public.