Top 10 Most Expensive Truffles of All Time


Top-10-Most-Expensive-Truffles

If you’re a fine dining connoisseur, you’re likely familiar with truffles. These lump-shaped balls of fungus might not look very appealing, but they’re one of the most popular gourmet ingredients in the world. They’re also far pricier than many of their mushroom counterparts.

The most expensive truffle of all time is the White Truffle of Tuscany. Stanley Ho purchased this 3.3lb (1.49kg) white truffle in 2007 for $330,000. The Truffle of Tuscany was one of the largest truffles ever sold at auction, but it’s not the only truffle purchased by Stanley Ho.

Although truffles aren’t the best long-term asset (they tend to spoil quickly), they’re a must-have ingredient for any lavish meal. Still, several truffles included in this ranking cost as much as the average house!

Here Are the Top 10 Most Expensive Truffles of All Time:

  1. White Truffle of Tuscany – $330,000
  2. Stanley Ho’s 2008 White Truffle – $200,000
  3. Stanley Ho’s Tuscan Truffles – $165,000
  4. Jeannie Cho Lee’s White Truffle – $142,653
  5. Bombana’s White Truffle – $132,000
  6. Italian White Truffle – $118,000
  7. Sam Chan’s White Truffles – $108,000
  8. Potanin White Truffle – $95,000
  9. World’s Largest White Truffle – $61,250
  10. Italian White Truffle Trio – $53,468

10. Italian White Truffle Trio – $53,468

White-Truffle-Trio
photo source: Foxnews

In 2006, Sir Gordon Wu Ying-sheung and his wife, Lady Ivy Wu Kwok Sau-ping, spent about $160,406 on a trio of white truffles. That works out to about $53,468 per truffle!

Because truffles spoil incredibly quickly, the couple wasted no time preparing their prized truffles. Well, in truth, they hired Chef Umberto Bombana to transform the white truffles into delicious meals, enjoying their purchase at a Ritz Carlton Hotel.

Notably, Chef Bombana has an incredible history of working with, preparing, and auctioning truffles. In fact, one of the most expensive truffles ever sold once belonged to him. But we’ll touch on that a little later.

Why Is It So Expensive?

The White Truffle Trio weighed in at 3.3lbs (about 1.49kg), making each one roughly double the size of the average truffle.

The larger the truffle, the more shavings you can get from it! Therefore, hefty truffles almost always outsell smaller ones.

But this truffle trio also consisted of high-quality white truffles, one of the most sought-after types. White truffles are considered more savory (and therefore more flavorful), so wealthy bidders are often happy to spend a small fortune to acquire them.

9. World’s Largest White Truffle – $61,250

World's-Largest-White-Truffle
photo source: TruffleFarm

In late November 2014, something magical happened in Central Italy (Umbria, more specifically). Truffle hunters discovered a massive white truffle that weighed in at 1.78kg (almost 4lbs).

For perspective, the average truffle only weighs about 0.045kg (or about 0.09lbs). This means that the truffle found in Umbria was almost 40 times the size of a standard truffle!

In fact, this truffle is the largest truffle ever unearthed. Surprisingly, it sold for a comparatively paltry $61,250, even despite its grand size.

Why Is It So Expensive?

The largest truffle in the world should sell for top-dollar prices, right? Well, in theory, yes.

But the time it took for this truffle to reach auction might have negatively impacted its value. After all, truffles are at their peak flavor during their first week above ground. But this truffle took more than a week to reach auction.

Consequently, buying it was more of a power move (being able to say you bought the biggest truffle ever) than a culinary investment.

8. Potanin White Truffle – $95,000

Potanin-White-Truffle

Before the World’s Largest White Truffle made its way into the record books, Nello Balan, a restaurant owner in New York City, was advertising his white Alba truffle as the biggest and best.

According to Balan, the truffle in question weighed a solid 4lbs.

If that’s true, this Italian truffle would have been the largest ever discovered. However, because he didn’t conduct an official weigh-in before selling the truffle to Russian billionaire Vladimir Pontanin, we’ll never know if the Pontanin White Truffle actually weighed that much.

Still, considering the fact that Balan sold his truffle sold for $95,000, the claim might be true!

Why Is It So Expensive?

This rare truffle’s purported size is likely the primary reason it sold for such a high price. Of course, shipping costs might have also affected the final pricing.

This truffle has to make its way from Italy, then to the US, and then to Russia! Considering how quickly truffles go bad, Pontanin probably splurged for the fastest possible shipping option.

Then again, as one of the wealthiest men in Russia, he might have just flown a private jet and picked up the truffle himself.

7. Sam Chan’s White Truffles – $108,000

Sam-Chan's-White-Truffles

In 2015, Chef Umberto Bombana hosted the 16th Annual Worldwide Alba White Truffle Auction. At this auction, a bundle of fresh Italian white truffles (white Alba truffles, to be exact) was sold to Chef Sam Chan for $108,000.

Fortunately, these funds were donated to the charity organization Mother’s Choice, based in Hong Kong. And because the truffles ended up in the hands of a chef, it’s safe to say that they were put to good use!

Why Is It So Expensive?

Sam’s Chan’s White Truffles were some of the most sought-after auction items at the 16th Annual Worldwide Alba White Truffle Auction. Because there was such a high demand for them, warring bids naturally escalated before finally reaching the $108,000 winning bid.

In short, limited supply and high demand helped make these white truffles some of the priciest in the world.

6. Italian White Truffle – $118,000

Italian-White-Truffle
photo source: New York Post

There are specialized auctions for almost every imaginable item, from vintage cars to mushrooms. The latter auction type can get quite interesting, especially when truffles come into play.

For example, in 2021, Alba, Italy (where those pricey white truffles get their name from) hosted the 21st World White Truffle Auction. And during that auction, Chef Umberto Bombana spent $118,000 to claim a 2lb white truffle.

Like the truffles purchased by Sam Chan in 2015, this hefty bit of fungus was likely used to create mouthwatering meals.

Why Is It So Expensive?

The average truffle weighs barely a tenth of a pound. So when you find one that weighs more than 20 times the average weight, you’ve got an edible fortune on your hands.

In the truffle business, size can be just as important as timeliness.

5. Bombana’s White Truffle – $132,000

Bombana's-White-Truffle
photo source: SCMP

Like Stanley Ho, Chef Umberto Bombana is well-known among truffle enthusiasts. In 2019, he once again hosted the Alba White Truffle World Auction. But new records were set on that November day.

At this event, a single white truffle weighing 1,005g (about 2.2lbs) sold to an unknown buyer for a jaw-dropping $132,000 (originally about HK$1.035 million). Still, this money didn’t end up lining Chef Bombana’s pockets. Instead, it went to charity!

Why Is It So Expensive?

Charitable giving could be partially responsible for the high auction price of Bombana’s White Truffle. But the more likely culprits are size and rarity.

4. Jeannie Cho Lee’s White Truffle – $142,653

Jeannie-Cho-Lee's-White-Truffle
photo source: Decanter

2010 was a great year for the truffle business, and not only because of Stanley Ho’s sizeable monetary contribution.

During the exclusive Alba White Truffle World Auction event, Jeannie Cho Lee (a Korean-American wine critic and journalist) made headlines by spending $142,653 on a 0.9kg (almost 2lbs) white truffle.

Unlike many other pricey truffles included in this ranking, we know exactly what happened to this white truffle and why it ended up costing so much.

Why Is It So Expensive?

Jeannie Cho Lee said she was willing to place her high bid (originally €105,000) because she knew the funds would go to a charitable cause. Of course, the fact that she also got to enjoy this truffle soon after purchasing it probably aided her decision-making.

3. Stanley Ho’s Tuscan Truffles – $165,000

Stanley-Ho's-Tuscan-Truffles
photo source: Independent

As you’ll soon discover, casino mogul Stanley Ho is kind of a big deal in the truffle world. He might not have plundered the soil and discovered many truffles, but he’s purchased some of the most exquisite and expensive ones ever put up for auction.

This includes a duo of white truffles from Tuscany that sold in 2010. Ho spent $330,000 to make these truffles his, equating to $165,000 per truffle. Of course, this pricing isn’t entirely accurate.

After all, one of the truffles he purchased weighed a hefty 0.9kg (almost 2lbs), while the other weighed about 0.4kg (about 0.9lbs). Because size is one of the most crucial factors in determining a truffle’s value, the price split between these truffles was probably a lot less equal.

Why Is It So Expensive?

Size and rarity are the main reasons these truffles sold for such a high price. That said, the buyer might also have something to do with the staggering final auction price.

Stanley Ho is no stranger to spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on rare white truffles, and this 2010 purchase wasn’t the first or most expensive truffle bid. Still, we’ll explore more about his truffle-buying habits in just a moment.

2. Stanley Ho’s 2008 White Truffle – $200,000

Stanley-Ho's-2008-White-Truffle
photo source: Haute Living

When it comes to spending money on truffles, there’s only true contender; Stanley Ho.

In 2008, this business mogul spent $200,000 on an Italian white truffle. Notably, this truffle was the largest discovered that year, weighing 1.08kg (about 2.4lbs).

Still, this costly truffle (which costs about as much as a small home) wasn’t the priciest truffle Ho ever bought.

Why Is It So Expensive?

The most likely reason Stanley Ho bid so much to own this truffle is size. After all, as the largest Italian white truffle discovered in 2008, this fungus had a stellar reputation, making it an in-demand item.

Then again, it just seems that Ho was quite fond of truffles.

1. White Truffle of Tuscany – $330,000

White-Truffle-of-Tuscany
photo source: Reuters

The most expensive truffle is the White Truffle of Tuscany. This huge (3.3lb/1.49kg) truffle sold for $330,000 when it went to auction in 2007.

And can you guess who purchased this white truffle? Here’s a hint: The buyer has a penchant for purchasing high-priced truffles.

That’s right, the White Truffle of Tuscany was yet another of Stanley Ho’s delicious acquisitions.

It’s unclear exactly what Ho ended up using this particular truffle for. But considering how many types of dishes are complemented by truffle shavings, he could have enjoyed a multi-day feast that featured every ounce of this beastly Tuscan truffle.

Of course, he would have had to eat very quickly, as the White Truffle of Tuscany was already a week old when it went to auction.

Why Is It So Expensive?

White truffles are some of the rarest and most sought-after in the world. Some of the world’s most expensive burgers even feature this unique type of truffle!

But the most significant factor influencing the White Truffle of Tuscany’s allure (and price) was its size.

Although it wasn’t the largest truffle ever unearthed, it was unusually large, making it an in-demand ingredient for anyone with a taste for truffles.

Sadly, Stanley Ho passed away in 2020, so his position as the world’s highest-paying truffle fan may belong to someone else one day.

Why Are Truffles So Expensive?

The incredibly popular fungus we call the “truffle” can easily cost thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. Large truffles, like the White Alba’s Truffle, are particularly valuable.

But what is it about truffles that makes them so incredibly pricey?

Well, truffles are expensive because they’re:

  • Hard to find
  • In demand
  • Prone to spoiling

Let’s briefly explore these factors and discuss how they impact truffle prices.

Finding Truffles Is Difficult

Like several of the world’s most expensive plants, truffles need specific environmental conditions to grow.

Though other fungi might sprout on almost any decaying matter, truffles only grow in temperate woodland areas. Additionally, you’re unlikely to spot one just lying in the soil.

That’s because truffles develop underground near (or on) root systems. Consequently, finding truffles can be a challenge. In fact, most truffle harvesters use trained animals to help sniff out these decadent balls of fungus.

High Demand

Several of the most expensive meals feature truffles. This ingredient is so prized by gourmet chefs and fine dining enthusiasts that it’s almost impossible to visit a Michelin-star restaurant without seeing at least one menu item featuring truffles.

That’s because truffles have a distinct scent and flavor that appeals to well-educated palates. In short, they’re one of the most umami ingredients on the planet, making them a must-have item for discerning chefs and diners.

Short Shelf Life

Once unearthed, truffles generally only stay edible for about a week or two. Consequently, there’s often a mad rush to transport them to interested buyers.

This expedited delivery partially contributes to the final price of any given truffle.

What’s the Most Expensive Truffle of All Time?

The most expensive truffle is the White Truffle of Tuscany, a 3.3lb behemoth of a white truffle sold to Stanley Ho in 2007. This massive truffle cost $330,000, making it the costliest truffle ever sold at auction. It’s also the most expensive truffle ever purchased by repeat-truffle-buyer Ho.

Still, although this white Tuscan truffle wasn’t quite costly, it wasn’t the largest truffle ever discovered. That honor goes to the 1.78kg (about 3.9lbs) white truffle purchased from Sotheby’s in 2014.

Check out these related articles to satisfy your appetite for luxurious food and drink!

Eric Lyons

Eric is a subject-matter expert on the world's most expensive luxuries and collectibles. He has explored thousands of luxuries and collectibles over the past few years and now brings them to readers around the world.

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