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London restaurant pays $52,000 for a truffle

/ Source: The Associated Press

A London restaurant dished out a record $52,000 for a 2.4-pound Italian white truffle during a charity auction in Tuscany, regional officials said Monday.

Zafferano restaurant outbid other buyers to take home the delicacy, said Daniel Pescini, a town official from San Miniato, the village west of Florence where the truffle was found.

“The truffle had a really good shape,” Pescini said “It was rounded and with no bulges.”

The auction was held Sunday evening in a castle in northwestern Italy. In total, it raised $103,700 for charities in the United States, Italy and Britain, the Italian news agency ANSA said.

The previous record was set on Nov. 7, when a white truffle about the same size was sold at auction for $41,000 to New York restaurateur Francesco Giambelli, who owns Giambelli 50th on New York’s East Side.

Considered a delicacy since Roman times, truffles are a fungus that forms in symbiosis with tree roots. Italy’s white truffles sell for around 10 times the price of France’s black variety.