White truffle feature image by chuttersnap on unsplash

After a career spanning more than three decades hunting for prized black truffles in the Dordogne region of France, what does one do when they find a gigantic 1.2kg specimen among specimens? Apparently, mint an NFT (non-fungible token) and put it up for auction on NFT marketplace Oceansea.

Or at least, that’s what Bernard Planche did after presenting his momentous find at the Sarlat Market earlier this month, where he got the treasured tuber melanosporum – which can fetch close to a S$1,000 a kg at retail prices – certified as authentic.

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tuber melanosporum, black truffle
Photo: Venture Makers – The Big Truffle

He then decided to meld the worlds of old-school truffle hunting and its traditions to blockchain, cryptocurrency and of course, NFTs – which, if you’re not aware, are digital certificates that identify an item (virtual or otherwise) on the blockchain.

Getting an item certified twice – once in, well, the real world and another time on blockchain – and its redundancies aside, Planche hopes that hopping on the hottest digital trend will bring attention to the Dordogne Valley in the southwest of France, where the months between December and March annually are dedicated to digging through the dirt for highly-valued black truffles.

The truffle hunter partnered up with Venture Makers, a consultancy that specialises in decentralised technologies including cryptocurrency and truffles, to make the auction happen – which concluded on February 11, selling for 3.41 ETH (as of press time, that roughly equates to S$14,000).

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Truffle hunting with dogs, photo by Andrea Cairone
Photo: Andrea Cairone

Apart from ownership of a decently massive black truffle – examples of which typically weigh in closer to 100g, or roughly golf ball-sized – the owner of the NFT gets to go on a guided truffle hunt with Planche, where they’ll search for truffles with dogs and pigs (perhaps the only things there more prized than the fungi itself) on his private estate in Saint-Cinq-Madelon, Perigord; along with a mystery meal. No prizes for guessing that black truffle will be on the menu though.

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For more on The Big Truffle and its listing on Opensea.