Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth's husband, has managed to grow a precious delicacy after trying for more than a decade.
The Duke of Edinburgh is believed to be the first person in the U.K. to sucessfully grow rare black truffles known as 'black diamonds', according to The Times. Not the type to put his feet up after retirement, he was hell-bent on succeeding. He achieved this amazing goal at Sandringham, her majesty's beloved retreat in Norfolk, after more than 12 years of perseverance. The truffles were harvested from Philip's organic 'truffiere' plantation on the estate, where he has been spending much of his time since his retirement.
The 97-year-old is believed to have been sharing his gourmet treats with other members of the Royal Family at meal times.
According to Mirror, Prince Philip spent £5,000 on buying special truffle-impregnated trees in 2006 after being told that the alkaline soil at Sandringham was an ideal environment for them. He had the 300 oak and hazel saplings planted on a one acre plot beside the Royal fruit farm on the estate.
It was revealed in 2009 that two Italian hounds, specially trained to sniff out truffles, had failed to find any in the root systems of the trees. But Prince Philip did not give up and his patience has finally been rewarded.
Adrian Cole, a director of Truffle U.K., which supplied the saplings to Sandringham, said: "You need a dog to hunt them. If you only go once every three or four weeks you are not going to produce very much, but if you go on a regular basis during the growing season you will increase your yield."
He said that the majority of the truffles were the Tuber Melanosporum, the French Perigord black truffle, which is as good as you can get. Indeed, the Perigord noir or Mediterranean black truffle — found largely in southern France, northern Italy and northern Spain — is the most prized of the approximately 70 known truffle species.
Cole added that none of the truffles had been sold, meaning that they have either gone to the house or members of the royal family. According to Cole, Sandringham was the first place to successfully harvest black truffles in the U.K.
Well, perseverance pays, at any age!