A black truffle from France weighing 1.2kg has sold for 10,000 US dollars (€8,750) at online auction, in the form of an NFT (non-fungible token).
Professional truffle hunter Bernard Planche, who lives on the border of Lot and Dordogne, said that the sale had been a “big surprise”.
Mr Planche usually sells his truffles at markets in the Périgord region, but his largest find sold for the record amount at an online auction over three days.
Mr Planche, 69, is a truffle and nut specialist, with more than 30 years experience, but his 32-year-old daughter advised him to put the large find online, in the form of an NFT (non-fungible token, a digital form of property that can be sold and traded).
The new owner will therefore receive the actual truffle, as well as an official NFT digital certificate proving that they once owned it.
Mr Planche told BFMTV: “I found [the truffle] last Wednesday on my property. It weighed 1.250kg when I discovered it, and weighed 1.186kg when I sold it at auction.”
Mr Planche said: ”I could see straight away that it was exceptional, but I had no idea it weighed so much.
“It was special because of its size, of course, but also because of its quality and the fact that it had been picked at the best, most fragrant time of the year.
“At the start, the auction struggled to get going. It stayed at €1,200, then €2,000, then €4,000…But it rose at the last minute.”
The buyer has remained anonymous, but Mr Planche said that they are of French nationality.
However, the truffle hunter has said that his profits will not be as large as one might think, as it cost him and his daughter €4,000 to list the truffle as an NFT on online marketplace OpenSea in the first place.
In comparison, the best black truffles usually sell for between €500-€1,000 per kilo.
Black truffles, full name “black spore truffle (tuber melanosporum)”, from the Périgord are often known as the "black diamond" of French gastronomy.
It is known for being among the most, if not the most, expensive kind of truffle available in France. The season lasts from November to February.
However, white Alba truffles from Italy are still often sold for much more.
Last year, a white Alba truffle weighing 803 grams was sold for the record price of 100,000 in Turin, Italy; while in 2019, a white Alba truffle weighing almost 1kg was judged to be worth 120,000 as an NFT at the same event.