Hong Kong Tycoon Pays $160,406 for Italian Truffle

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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 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 95,000 euros for a 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 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.