Wading for Wasabi

In the backwaters of Dorset, a secret project is under way. The mission? To grow one of the rarest and most expensive vegetables in the world. If truffles are the black diamond of European cuisine, then wasabi is the emerald of Japanese food. The plant from which it comes has been cultivated in Japanís shaded mountain streams since the 16th century Ė but never here. Three years ago, the Wasabi Company was born, when the Watercress Company, Britainís largest watercress grower, owned by the Old family and with a history stretching back to the 1880s, decided it was time to try something new. (BTW: The price of fresh rhizome, the wasabi plantís swollen, root-like stem, is as eye-watering as the flavour, and rumoured to top £300 per kilo).

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