Historic white truffle (Image: AFP / Timothy A Clary)

The White Truffle Fair held in Alba each year is used to dealing vast sums of the money. Over the course of the auction, hundreds of thousands of euros change hands. But this year, it was a single white truffle that captured the attention of the food media. That was because the specimen weighed in at 830 grams — nearly two pounds — and sold for a whopping 482,000 euros, or about $117,000.

What makes white truffles so prized is their rarity and short season. They are available only from October until mid-January. Unlike their counterparts, moreover, they are next to impossible to cultivate.

Although the truffle sold this past Sunday was one of the largest ever recorded, an even larger one, weighing 900 grams, was sold to a Hong Kong businessman in 2020 for the price of 100,000 euros. The largest white truffle ever found reportedly weighed 1.3 kilograms. That’s close to three pounds.

This year’s coveted fungus went to another Hong Kong “businessman,” namely, Italian chef Umberto Bombana, who runs the Michelin-starred “Otto e Mezzo” restaurant. Bids also came in from Dubai, Singapore, and Moscow.

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