World's largest truffle discovered: could fetch $1 million

How can a fungus be worth $1 million - and is it the weirdest expensive ingredient?

world's largest truffle

The world's largest white truffle has been unearthed, weighing an incredible 4.16 lbs. It's up for auction next week in New York, and the experts think it could fetch as much as $1 million - making it one of the most expensive ingredients in the world. But why is it considered to be worth so much?

Sabatoni Truffles in Italy announced the discovery. It added that it should eventually be certified as the largest truffle in the world - as it is twice the size of the current record-holder.

It said in a statement that "offers have already come in from China and Dubai to buy the largest and most expensive tuber to date." It's thought that the truffle could eventually sell for as much as $1 million. The family-run firm has said that the proceeds of the auction will be given to charity.

The incredible estimate is due to the fact that truffles remain the most expensive food in the world, and white truffles are by far the priciest type. Their price owes much to their rarity, because they are only found during three months of the year, and they have to be hunted down by experts with trained dogs - because they are both wild and hidden underground. Over the years these truffles have become harder to come by - although no one is certain why - so the price is rising.

Weird expensive foods

There will be those who cannot imagine how a fungus growing underground could make it to the top of the pile in terms of expensive foodstuffs. However, this isn't the only odd ingredient with an enormous price tag.

Foie gras is famously the result of such an unpleasant force-feeding technique that a high-profile campaign persuaded Selfridges and Harvey Nichols to stop stocking it.

Civet coffee, meanwhile, is the product of feeding civets coffee beans. After nature has taken its course and they excrete them, the beans are roasted and turned into coffee.

Serbian donkey milk cheese, meanwhile, is the priciest cheese in the world, because donkeys don't produce an awful lot of milk. Bearing that in mind, it's hard to know why anyone ever decided to try making cheese from it in the first place.

Then there's gold leaf, which tends to make an appearance in swanky restaurants. It's clear why it's so expensive, but what's less clear is why on earth it is added to food at all, given that it doesn't actually taste of anything.

But what do you think? Are these things worth paying a small fortune for? Or would someone have to pay you to eat them?

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