white Italian truffle

Italian stock markets are sharply down this year, but the price of white truffle has doubled to 3,000 euros ($4,100) per kilogram in just a week.

Truffle hunters say the increase is due to low average rainfall in areas where truffle is found, as well as higher demand — particularly from buyers in Asia where truffle tastes have taken off, Italian news agency ANSA reported.

The price is now at around 3,000 euros for large truffles and some 2,500 euros per kilogramme for smaller tubers — far higher than last year.

san miniato truffle festival 2011

The news came as the town of San Miniato in Tuscany gears up later this month for its white truffle fair — the main marketplace for the delicacy.

The town is famous for being near the spot where the biggest white truffle ever found, weighing in at 2.520 kilograms, was dug up in 1954.

At a charity auction in Italy last year, South Korean wine critic Jeannie Cho Lee bought a giant white truffle weighing 900 grammes for 105,000 euros.

Jeannie Cho Lee