Leading Article: Growth industry

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The Independent Online

At least one good thing has emerged from our hot, but irritatingly damp, summer: a revival of British truffling. Not long ago, Mediterranean countries such as France, Italy and Spain had a virtual monopoly on the production of the pungent, subterranean fungi, so feted by gourmands. But now our own farmers are beginning to dig them out, courtesy of the change in the weather in recent years.

And one British biologist, Dr Paul Thomas, has even developed a way to encourage the growth of the delicious tubers in the roots of trees. Truffles could soon be more abundant, and perhaps cheaper, than ever before.

The great Italian composer and gourmet Rossini is reported to have once remarked: "I have wept three times in my life. Once when my first opera failed; once again, the first time I heard Paganini play the violin; and once when a truffled turkey fell overboard at a boating picnic." With luck, such sad tears will soon never need fall again.