Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hhhhhhmmmmmm. Expensive Fungus!! Tastes Good.

Hong Kong property tycoon pays US$160,406 for giant truffle

November 14, 2006
HONG KONG (AP) - A Hong Kong property tycoon and his wife have reportedly paid $160,406 for a huge Italian white truffle, which may be the world's most expensive ever.

Gordon Wu and his wife outbid connoisseurs from France and Italy to win the 1.5-kilogram (3.3 pounds) Alba white truffle from an international auction on Sunday, a spokeswoman for the Ritz-Carlton hotel, which hosted the Hong Kong part of the auction, said Tuesday.

It was the second time Hong Kong bidders won a pricey fungus at the annual auction, held in Grizane, Italy and satellite-linked with Paris and Hong Kong.

Last year, a group of bidders in Hong Kong paid Eu95,000 (ed. - apprx . $121,000) for a 1.2-kilogram (2.7-pound) truffle, a purchase later named by Guinness World Records as the most valuable truffle bought at an auction, said Ritz-Carlton spokeswoman Claudia Hardt.

Guinness World Records officials couldn't immediately be reached to confirm the claim.

White truffles, known for their extravagant price tag and strong, garlic-like scent,
grow underground with tree roots. They're eaten uncooked or shaved into pasta, salad, omelets and other dishes.

"They're very unique. They're found all together and they've got a beautiful shape," said hotel cook Umberto Bombana of this year's prize truffle, made up of three palm-sized portions.

Bombana will prepare the giant truffle for a five-course banquet hosted by Wu on Thursday.

Proceeds from the auction _ which also featured five smaller truffles weighting 220 to 520 grams (7.7 to 18.2 ounces) sold to other Hong Kong bidders _ will go to Mother's Choice, a Hong Kong charity that cares for pregnant girls and organizes adoptions, Hardt said.

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