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Tuesday, 12 November, 2002, 06:40 GMT
Giant truffle under the hammer
Credit: Urbani Truffles and Caviar online
Restaurateurs see the white truffle as "glamorous"
A record sum of $35,000 has been paid at auction for a truffle.

The auction was held simultaneously in the United States and Italy, where the fungus was grown.


Not only was it all for a good cause, but consider also the glamour of the white truffle

Donato Poto
Bastide restaurant director
The buyer was an American businessman, Joe Pytka, who plans to serve up the one-kilogram specimen in a variety of dishes in his French restaurant in Hollywood.

Also bidding were a New York restaurant-owner and a German dog named Gunther.

The proceeds from the truffle are being split between an American cancer foundation and a fund for the families of the children killed in the recent Italian earthquake.

Thirty truffles in all, some weighing just a few grammes, were auctioned off for a total of over $120,000.

'Meteorite'

Mr Pytka said he would use the giant truffle, which broke last year's record price of $19,000, at his Bastide restaurant in west Hollywood.

"Once we had seen it we were determined to have it," said restaurant director Donato Poto. "It looks like a meteorite."

"Not only was it all for a good cause, but consider also the glamour of the white truffle, and of this one in particular."

White truffles are considered one of the world's most prized gastronomic delights.

They are dug up with the help of specially trained dogs.

The inhabitants of ancient Greece and Rome are said to have used truffles as an aphrodisiac, and poet Lord Byron kept one on his desk for inspiration.

See also:

08 Mar 02 | Business
07 Feb 01 | Europe
14 Nov 00 | UK
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