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February 18, 2009

I nearly choked on my toast at a story in The Independent today. It reports that an un-named business man refused to settle his £3500 restaurant bill after he and his five companions scoffed a claimed 300g of white truffles at just under a tenner a gramme.

The diner disputes the restaurant’s stance that the truffles were weighed before being prepared. The businessman, whose business is obviously blissfully untouched by the credit crunch, is said to have offered to foot half the bill. The chef refused the offer and the dispute looks as though it will head to the courts.

I have had to swallow hard before paying one or two enthusiastically priced restaurant bills but nothing near three and a half grand. The Great Truffle Tussle has provoked some restaurants into drawing up a truffle code of conduct where the fungi is weighed in front of the customer and the price agreed before the meal is prepared. Although the process seems to stop short of both parties having to sign a legally binding contract, I imagine that the hassle of it all doesn’t exactly help create an atmosphere of warm and welcoming hospitality.