Mon, Dec 08, 2014 - Page 7 News List

Biggest-ever white truffle bought by phone from Taiwan

AFP, NEW YORK

The world’s largest white truffle sold at auction on Saturday for US$61,250 — far less than the US$1 million its owner reportedly had hoped for.

The Alba White truffle weighed 1.89kg when unearthed last week in the Italian region of Umbria, making it by far the largest-ever found.

Sotheby’s said it was purchased by a gourmand from Taiwan, who had placed his winning bid by telephone.

Bidding started at US$50,000 for the record-breaking fungus. It was owned by the Balestra Family of Sabatino Truffles, whose chief executive officer told the New Haven Register newspaper this week that he hoped it would fetch seven figures.

“I told everybody I wanted a million dollars,” Federico Balestra said, adding that a Sabatino employee in Italy “was hunting truffles for us and found the truffle for us.”

Balestra added that the massive fungus — slightly smaller than a US football — was large enough “to feed a party for 300 to 400 truffle dinners.”

Long after the dinner plates are cleared away, the Balestra truffle was expected to enjoy immortality as an entry in next year’s edition of the Guinness Book of World Records.

News reports said this new record holder is about twice the size of the previous champion.

Nevertheless, the dethroned white truffle fetched far more when it was sold in 2010 — US$417,200, according to Sotheby’s.

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