Truffles are one of the most talked-about, expensive, and rare ingredients in fine dining and haute cuisine of modern times. Do you know truffles were known as “Witch’s fare” in the middle ages due to their exotic taste and smell?
Its unique musky aroma and woody flavor make the Michelin starred chefs swoon. Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, the famous gourmet chef, called it “Diamond of the kitchen”, the title which truffles truly deserve.
There are two types of truffles available: black and white. The black truffles are usually found in western Europe, mainly in France. Known as “Black gold of the earth”, these offer a chocolaty, earthy, and nutty flavor with a subtle mushroom taste. The white ones are found in southern parts of Europe; the best ones in Italy. These have a more garlic-type flavor with a musky aroma. Just a few shavings of black or white truffle can make any sweet or savory dish reach gourmet status.
Fresh black winter Perigord truffles from France(left) and Italian Alba white truffles(right)
Truffles are sought after by celebrities, chefs, and fine dining enthusiasts all over the world. You have to pay a hefty price for even an ounce of good quality truffle. These are usually 1-2.8 ounces. But rarely found truffles of big sizes are the most coveted in the culinary world.
Every year, truffle lovers gather at the Annual Alba Charity Auction to bid a small fortune on the best finds of that season. People with a love for gourmet food gather at the auction either to catch a glimpse at the wonderful truffles or to take part in the biddings themselves. You will be amazed at the prices of some of the most expensive ones that were sold at.
Today, through this article we will see the world’s top 10 most expensive as well as most desirous truffles. Let’s begin!
Here are the 10 of the most expensive truffles sold around the world:
10. Largest truffle, Sotheby’s auction
9. Trio of white truffle,2017
8. Giant 4-pound white truffle
7. White truffle at the 16th International auction
6. Grande twin truffle of 2016 Alba auction
5. Monster 1-kilogram truffle
4. White truffle at World Alba White truffle auction,2010
2. Giant truffle from Tuscany
1.Largest truffle from Croatia
Largest truffle sold at Sotheby’s auction
The largest truffle was found in November 2014 by the truffle supplier firm Sabatino Truffles in Umbria, Italy.
Buyers from China offered million-dollar deals for the truffle but the firm didn’t accept. Instead, it opted to auction the truffle at Sotheby’s auction in New York for charitable purposes. There, a Taiwanese food and wine lover bought the fungus bidding via phone for $61,250.
This was a record-setting 4.16-pound white truffle. The spokeswoman of Sabatino Truffles compared the size to an American football but slightly smaller. Usually, white truffles aren’t bigger than a walnut.
Trio of white truffle, 2017
In 2017, the Piedmont region of Italy suffered one of the worst seasons for growing white truffles. As a result, prices soared high and most diners and restaurants couldn’t afford to take part in that year’s World Truffle Auction in Alba.
The auction was linked to Hong Kong and Dubai via satellites. A trio of white truffles, weighing 480 grams, was the center of attention of the bidders. Perched on a pillow of red velvet, this cluster of white gold was sold to Eugene Fung, a Hong Kong mogul, for an astounding amount of $87,000.
The daring Fung was the winner of the bidding war after fighting with other bidders for 8 minutes.
Giant 4-pound white truffle
In October 2013, Nello Balan, a restauranteur from New York City, claimed this was the largest white truffle in the world. Instead of using it at his eatery at Madison, he sold this to billionaire Vladimir Potanin who is the fourth richest man in Russia. The billionaire bought this chunk of white gold for a great amount of $95,000.
What would you buy if you had $95k to spare?
White truffle at the 16th International auction of the white truffle
The 16th international white truffle auction was the most coveted culinary event held in Hong Kong in 2015. The event was hosted at the sixteenth century Hall of Masks, a castle of Grinzane Cavour in Italy and satellite-linked to 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana situated in Hong kong.
Mr.Sam Chan from Hong Kong won the bid for the largest alba white truffle of the night for a whopping HK$833,00 which is equivalent to about $108,000.
Grande Twin truffle of 2016 Alba auction-
This giant 1170 gram twin truffle was available in the World Alba White Truffle Auction of 2016. The auction took place in Italy, Philadelphia, Hong Kong, and Dubai via a live simulcast auction.
Bidders across the mid-Atlantic region took part in this international auction. Big names like beer baroness Sandy Muller, Italian ambassador Armando Varricchio, entertainer Deana Martin (daughter of Italian-American singer and actor Dean Martin) were present. After an intense transatlantic bidding war, Chinese chef Dong Zhenxiang, owner of top-rated Da Dong Roast Duck in Beijing, took away the grande twin white truffle for $118,000 in Italy.
Monster 1-kilogram truffle
Celebrity chef Umberto Bombana’s 20th charity auction, held in 2019, brought out this giant more than 1kg white truffle.
Bidders from Singapore, Italy, and Moscow fought over this prize of the night. A Hong Kong diner won the bid by offering $132,275 which made it the highest bid offered in the past 12 years. The proceedings went to a charity named “Mother’s choice”.
White truffle at World Alba white truffle auction, 2010
The auction was held in Castello di Grinzane, Italy. The region is famous for its cuisine. The truffle presented there weighed 900 grams.
This giant white truffle was sold to a South Korean wine critic named Jeannie Cho Lee, living in Hong Kong at that moment. She made the bid through a satellite link-up. She paid $145,00 for the truffle which is equivalent to $162 per gram. She enjoyed the truffle with a close group of friends and family.
Italian white truffle
The international auction of 2008 was held at Macau, London, Rome, and Abu Dhabi simultaneously. The prized fungus was found around the central Molise region on November 21, 2008.
An Italian chef accompanied the truffle on a first-class flight to Macau. The 2.2 pounds truffle went to Hong Kong-born Casino owner Stanley Ho after the bidding spectacle for a small fortune of $200,000. He had also bought the largest truffle the previous year which is on number 2 in this list.
Giant Truffle from Tuscany
This extraordinary heavy truffle was dug up in Palaia, a town 25 miles away from the leaning tower of Pisa, in 2007. The fungi weighed about 3.3 pounds. It was described as strange-looking from other truffles as it looked more like a human brain than a regular typical round truffle. The chef holding the truffle inspected and stated that it was very nice. This truffle is considered one of the largest truffles ever found.
The auction for this truffle was held simultaneously in Stanley Ho’s Grand Lisboa hotel, London, and Florence. The billionaire casino owner Mr.Ho snatched the most coveted truffle of the year for a staggering amount of $330,000. Mr.Ho is surely a wealthy man for buying the biggest truffles two years in a row! Proceeds from the auction went to an Italian charity organization.
Largest truffle from Croatia
In 1999, Giancarlo Zigante, a local caterer and truffle hunter found this gem with his dog Diana in Istria, Croatia. Istra is known for its high-quality truffles, and it is an attraction for truffle hunters.
The Largest truffle weighed 2.86 pounds. It was listed as the largest truffle ever found in the Guinness world records and held it for a long time. Zigante had the truffle cast in bronze before selling. He named this the “millennium”.
It was sold for a shocking $330,000 at an auction later.
Frequently Asked Questions:
➤ What is the most expensive truffle oil?
Truffle oils originally are olive oil or sunflower oil infused with white or black truffles. It is used as a finishing oil after preparing a dish. But nowadays commercial companies use chemical products like 2,4-dithiapentane to add the unique smell of truffle to oil.
Truffle oils are hated by chefs but some people actually love to use them on their fries, pasta, pista, etc. Because these oils are not expensive like real truffles and general people pay the price to add this counterfeit truffle aroma to their dish.
Urbani, Sabatino, Truffle Hunter, Mikuni, Thracian truffles, and some other brands cater truffle oils to the public. The price range starts from only $14. The most expensive truffle oils are the Thracian truffles Sunflower oil and Extra virgin olive oil with white truffles. Both are priced at $94.90.
Thracian truffles sunflower oil with white truffles(left) & extra virgin olive oil with white truffle(right)
➤ What is the rarest truffle?
Aside from the Chinese truffle which is very commercial and lacks heavily in quality, any other truffle is quite rare. But the rarest truffle is the Perigord black truffle.
This particular truffle glitters after the mud and dirt are cleared from the surface. Hence it was named “Black diamond of France”. It is known for its strong aroma which also has a hint of sweet and floral fragrance. It can only be found during winter in some parts of southern Europe, mainly in France. The more the truffles ripens, the better it smells. But once plucked from the ground, it begins to lose the smell as truffles have a very short shelf life of 5-10 days.
This ultimate aphrodisiac is sought worldwide but is the rarest. So you have to pay a high price for this rare delicacy.
➤ What is the most expensive truffle mushroom?
Rare European White truffles are certainly the most expensive truffle mushroom in the world. Truffle hunters use dogs and pigs to find these in the wild regions of Tuscany, Marche, and Piedmont of Italy. But pigs are seldom used as they end up eating the mushroom.
It is found growing in the roots of trees like beech, oak, hazelnut, poplar, and willow trees.
European white truffles are very fragrant. It is coveted for its musky, earthy, and garlic-type flavor which makes it stand out from other truffles. The truffles are usually yellowish or light brown in color. It has a smooth texture. These mushrooms aren’t as pungent as black ones and usually shaved raw over gourmet dishes.
The price of these mushrooms can exceed $2680 per pound. Every year, fairs are held in various regions of Italy to display and auction off these mushrooms. Millionaires, billionaires, renowned chefs, food critics, and food lovers gather to pay a hefty amount for a single piece of these mushrooms.
➤ What is the most expensive truffle chocolate?
Truffle chocolates are truffles covered by chocolate, sometimes with fruits and nuts. These are quite expensive and only a few companies sell them.
The most expensive truffle chocolate is La Madeline au Truffe. Danish chocolatier Fritz Knipschildt created this luxurious delicacy. Forbes acknowledged it as the most expensive truffle chocolate in the world.
Fritz moved to the USA in 1996. He then started producing this delicious treat in Norwalk, Connecticut under his brand name ‘Knipschildt Chocolatier’.
The base of this rich chocolate delicacy is made of 70% Valrhona dark chocolate, sugar, heavy cream, vanilla, and truffle oil. This ganache covers a rare French Perigord black truffle. The chocolate piece is then rolled in fine cocoa powder and dark chocolate. The result is the most divine chocolate truffle.
These chocolate truffles are only available on pre-order and take 14 days to deliver. It arrives grandly lying on velvet in a lavish golden box filled with beads made from sugar and tied with a fancy ribbon. Per piece of this truffle costs $250.
If you are feeling extravagant on Valentine’s day or a special occasion, you may spend $250 for a loved one and pre-order this rich mouthful.
➤ What is the most expensive truffle: white or black?
Though the Perigord black truffle is the rarest truffle, white truffles are the most expensive ones. The Chinese version of black truffle sells really cheap and doesn’t have an authentic aroma or flavor. You can buy an ounce of authentic black truffle for $36.25 from Amazon.
For buying the rare winter black truffles, you have to pay $102.3 per ounce.
On the other hand, white truffles can cost you hundreds of dollars for only an ounce. Because of its more rooty flavor and aroma, chefs prefer it more. White truffles are used raw as shavings on various sweet and savory dishes. The lowest price for an ounce of white truffle is $125
Black truffles have a shelf life of 7 days where white truffles only have 5 days. So it’s hard to get your hands on some good white truffle. That’s why white truffles are usually more expensive.
Truffles are undoubtedly one of the most sought kitchen ingredients in high-class diners and restaurants. Whoever tries these once can never forget the distinct taste or aroma. If you have a great love for gourmet food, I recommend trying truffles at least once in your life. You will definitely enjoy the experience.
About Dawson Kutch
Dawson Kutch is a born and raised Alaskan who loves the outdoors and everything it has to offer. Kutch has been an avid hunter and fisher his entire life, and takes great pride in providing for himself and his family. While he enjoys spending time in the great outdoors, Kutch also has a passion for fashion and loves to stay up-to-date on the latest trends. In his free time, Kutch enjoys spending time with his wife and one young daughter. He is always looking to learn more and better himself, both as a writer and as a person.