World's biggest white truffle to be auctioned in New York

NEW YORK (Reuters) - An Italian white truffle, reportedly the largest in the world, will be sold at an in-house and online auction in New York on Saturday where bidding is expected to start at US$50,000 (S$65,740) and could go much higher, Sotheby's said on Thursday.

The auction house could not say how much the prized fungus, which weighs 4.16 lbs (1.89 kg), will fetch, but it is nearly twice the size of a truffle that was sold in 2010 for $417,200.

White truffles, one of the most coveted and expensive delicacies in the world, are found only in certain areas of Italy from October through December. They grow wild in forests and are detected by specially trained dogs and experienced hunters.

They vary in size and are valued for their flavour and aroma.

The massive fungus was discovered in Italy last week by Sabatino Truffles, one of the largest suppliers. Sotheby's said it has already had inquiries about the truffle from Latin America, Asia and North America.

The Balestra family of Sabatino Truffles plans to donate proceeds from the sale to several charities.