The Odd Side – December 26, 2017

Wild Truffle Grows on Paris Rooftop, In Scientific Mystery

PARIS (AP) – Urban scientists and Paris foodies are getting excited about a bizarre discovery atop a hotel near the Eiffel Tower: the first-ever wild truffle growing in the French capital.

It’s just one 25-gram (0.9-ounce) winter truffle. But truffles normally sprout only in limited areas of southern Europe, and are so rare that the most prized versions can sell for thousands of euros per kilogram.

The National Museum of National History, which confirmed the discovery Friday, called it a “beautiful example” of environmental benefits of rooftop gardens sprouting across Paris and other cities.

Urban ecology researcher Frederic Madre described on France-Info media finding the mushroom beneath a hornbeam tree at the Mercure Paris Centre hotel.

This truffle was donated to science — but the hotel is already hoping to be able to offer homegrown truffles to diners someday.

Family to Match Donations for Snapping Turtle’s $5,500 Tank

BENNINGTON, Vt. (AP) – A Vermont museum says a local family will match dollar for dollar all donations to help a friendly snapping turtle get a new tank this winter.

Michael Clough is assistant director at the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum in Marlboro. He said last week that the museum was seeking $5,500 for a custom-made tank for Basil the turtle.

Clough tells The Bennington Banner the museum had already reached $4,000 when the family announced its donation pledge. The family wishes to remain anonymous.

Clough says Basil was raised as an illegal pet and arrived at the museum five years ago. Snapping turtles are known for their vicious bite, but Basil is unafraid of humans and dogs.

The museum plans for the tank to allow Basil to swim freely once he’s fully grown.

Grocery Store Shoppers Get Operatic Treat

WATERTOWN, Mass. (AP) – A Massachusetts grocery store employee has surprised shoppers with his operatic renditions of popular music.

Tony Russo, owner of Russo’s Market in Watertown, tells The Boston Globe he had no idea Guilherme Assuncao could sing when the 23-year-old volunteered to sound check equipment one night for an upcoming weekend performance.

His voice shocked his co-workers, and Assuncao was invited back to the stage to perform for shoppers. One shopper who visited the store over the weekend says everyone stopped what they were doing when they heard Assuncao sing.

Assuncao moved from Brazil to the U.S. in 2015 to attend school. While he hasn’t performed in years, Assuncao says “music is my life.”