British restaurant digs out record £28,000 for Tuscan white truffle

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Indy Lifestyle Online

It started its life in the distinctly unglamorous environs of a mud-clogged tree root in the Tuscan countryside.

It started its life in the distinctly unglamorous environs of a mud-clogged tree root in the Tuscan countryside.

But yesterday, a prized white truffle weighing less than two pounds was destined for the more refined setting of a London restaurant after selling for a record £28,000 (€39,800) at auction.

The Italian truffle was sold during a charity event at a castle in San Miniato, the Tuscan village situated 25 miles west of Florence where the culinary delicacy was found.

The proud new owner of the truffle was Zafferano, an exclusive Michelin-starred restaurant, which is as famous for the culinary creations of Giorgio Locatelli as for its celebrity clientele. It was in the same Knightsbridge restaurant that Madonna chose to hold her birthday party earlier this year during a brief pause in her world tour.

Despite weighing only 1.88 pounds, the record sale price of the white truffle was attributed to its perfectly "rounded" form.

"The truffle had a really good shape," said Daniel Pescini, a town official at San Miniato. "It was rounded and with no bulges."

The purchase of the truffle is an unlikely move for Zafferano, in the light of the fact that its owners A to Z Restaurants went into administration earlier this month. However, it is unlikely to dent the enthusiasm of the restaurant in the light of its ownership of the white truffle, a delicacy commonly perceived as the jewel in the crown of the culinary world.

Truffles, which are formed in symbiosis with tree roots, have been viewed as a culinary delicacy since Roman times.

The highest quality truffles are the white variety, with those in Italy selling for around 10 times more than the black variety found in France.

The previous record for the most expensive member of the fungus family in the world was set on 7 November when a white truffle, weighing 2.38 pounds, was sold at a charity auction for £22,000 (€31,000).

It was bought by Francesco Giambelli, the restaurateur behind Giambelli 50th on New York's East Side.

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