One truffle proves no trifle at record $41,000

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The Independent US

New York restaurateur Francesco Giambelli dished out a record $41,000 (£22,000)for a 2.4lb Italian white truffle yesterday. The 85-year-old, who owns Giambelli 50th on New York's East Side, beat off an unnamed opponent in Moscow to claim the truffle, the largest to be sold at an auction.

New York restaurateur Francesco Giambelli dished out a record $41,000 (£22,000)for a 2.4lb Italian white truffle yesterday. The 85-year-old, who owns Giambelli 50th on New York's East Side, beat off an unnamed opponent in Moscow to claim the truffle, the largest to be sold at an auction.

"It was very aggressive," he said. "No one has ever paid this much for a truffle." The auction was held on Sunday with restaurants from New York to Moscow, connected by a satellite link. It was the sixth annual edition of the event, but the first time Moscow has participated. In past years, bidding has centred in Japan and Los Angeles.

The auction raised $135,000 from 19 truffles. The proceeds go to charities in the United States, Italy, and Russia. A delicacy since Roman times, the fungus forms in symbiosis with tree roots. Italy's white truffles sell for 10 times the price of France's black variety.

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