Giant white truffle fetches more than $61,000 at New York auction

Sat Dec 6, 2014 11:32am EST
 
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A white truffle from Italy, said to be the largest in the world, sold for $61,250 at an auction in New York on Saturday, Sotheby's said.

The truffle, which weighs 4.16 lbs (1.89 kg), was purchased by a buyer from Taiwan who bid by telephone, the auction house said.

The massive fungus was discovered in Italy last week by Sabatino Truffles, one of the largest suppliers. It is stored in an airtight box, Sotheby's said.

White truffles, one of the most coveted and expensive delicacies in the world, are found only in certain areas of Italy from October through December. They grow wild in forests and are detected by specially trained dogs and experienced hunters.

They vary in size and are valued for their flavor and aroma.

Sotheby's said the truffle was the largest ever found. It is nearly twice the size of a truffle that was sold in 2010 for $417,200, although the two sale prices are not necessarily comparable, a Sotheby's spokesman said.

The earlier sale took place at a charity dinner in Hong Kong while Saturday's auction had only one bidder, he said.

The Balestra family of Sabatino Truffles said it plans to donate proceeds from the sale to several charities.

(Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst; Additional reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)