Source AP ©

Truffle to be sold at auction in Florence for charity

An usually heavy white truffle will be auctioned off this week in Florence for charity.

Truffle hunter Cristiano Savini said Tuesday that he was searching for truffles with his father and dog Rocco last week in Palaia, a town about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Pisa, when the dog started sniffing "like crazy."

With Rocco leashed to a tree to prevent him from digging too furiously, the Savinis carefully extracted a truffle they said weighed 1.497 kilograms (about 3.3 pounds), which they contended was a record weight.

Guinness World Records lists a 1.3-kilogram (2.86-pound) white truffle found in Croatia in 1999 as the biggest.

Cristiano's father, Luciano, said the truffle had been weighed at the traffic police station in the nearby town of San Miniato, which issued a certificate attesting to its weight. The station said the officer involved in the weighing was not immediately available for comment.

On Tuesday, Cristiano Savini brought the truffle to Rome to publicize the planned auction, to be held Saturday in a palace in Florence.

Truffles can fetch 7,500 EUR(US$11,155) a kilogram in Rome, though they usually weigh from 30 to 80 grams (1 to 2.8 ounces). Slivers of truffles, with their strong aroma, are prized in Italy to flavor pasta sauces and rice dishes.

Proceeds from the auction will go to an Italian organization that helps sufferers of genetic diseases, a group that helps street children in London and Catholic charities in Macau.

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