The World’s Largest Truffle Goes to Auction

                                  PHOTOGRAPH BY TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP / GETTY

Afew minutes after 9 A.M. on Saturday morning, at Sotheby’s, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, a small group of people huddled around a knobbly, dirt-smudged tuber sitting on a white china cake stand. Federico Balestra, the C.E.O. of the North American branch of his family’s company, Sabatino Tartufi, put on a pair of white gloves, squeezed past a rack of oil paintings, and rotated the tuber a few degrees—“for showing its good side” to the in-house photographer, Balestra said. “To be honest, we really didn’t know what to expect,” Dan Abernethy, a Sotheby’s representative, said apologetically. It was the auction house’s first experience with selling a truffle.

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