Tesco to sell 'exclusive' potato
Published 01/08/2011 | 08:56
The world's "most expensive and exclusive" potatoes are to go on sale across the UK for the first time this week at a major supermarket.
The variety, La Bonnotte, which is normally only grown on a small island off France, can sell for up to £400 per kilogram.
However, Tesco has sourced a new supply, grown on Jersey, and will be selling them from Tuesday for the equivalent of £2.65 per kilo.
La Bonnotte commands a high price because normally only about 20,000kg is grown each year and they are handpicked because they are too fragile to be cultivated by machine.
Andy Blackett, Tesco 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.
"They have a unique and complex taste that is simply out of this world - as seaweed is added to the soil to enrich their production there is a distinct hint of sea saltiness as well as lemon and an earthy nuttiness.
"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. As we've bought a lot we've been able to get them for a good price and will pass this saving on to our customers."
La Bonnotte used to be exclusively grown on a tiny island called Noirmoutier which lies 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, sea air and the seaweed used as a fertiliser. As the potato is so delicate and its tuber remains attached to its stem it must be picked by hand and not torn.
The potato nearly became extinct between the First and Second World Wars but production was kept going by a small handful of devotees.