Monster 1kg truffle is on a plane to Hong Kong, after city beats out bidders from Singapore and Moscow to nab the top prize at the Italian Alba White Truffle World Auction for the 17th time in 20 years
The 20th edition of the Italian Alba White Truffle World Auction was held on Sunday night, with a Hong Kong man outbidding buyers from Singapore, Moscow and Italy to bag a record Alba white truffle weighing more than a kilogram.
The auction was held at Hong Kong’s 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana – the first and only three-Michelin-starred Italian restaurant outside of Italy – raising US$455,000 for local charity Mother’s Choice.
A highlight on the culinary calendar, this annual event was initiated by restaurateur and chef Umberto Bombana 20 years ago and is going from strength to strength. More than 90 of the city’s luminaries filled his flagship restaurant for a five-course, white truffle gala dinner at a cool US$1,900 per head, with all proceeds going to the charity.
The local auction began around 8pm with magnums of wine, regional luxury resort stays, fine-dining dinners and, naturally, white truffle going under the hammer. But the highlight was a live internet auction for the record 1.005kg Alba white truffle – the largest ever to go under the hammer in the auction’s 20-year history – with Hong Kong, Singapore and Moscow linking up to the International Alba White Truffle Fair in Alba, Piedmont in Italy at 9pm.
The exciting 19-round bidding war culminated in a Hong Kong diner forking out €120,000 (US$132,275) for the coveted prize – marking the highest bid in the past 12 years.
This year’s splendid white truffle harvest has been rich and bountiful, courtesy of a warmer climate, and more hydrated soils. The dog that found this record Alba white truffle also attended the auction in Italy.
The coveted white truffle was flown directly to Hong Kong on Monday (November 11) where the winner and 11 other guests are expected to enjoy their win at 81/2 Otto e mezzo soon – as white truffle does not keep for very long.
“I can only remember Hong Kong losing out three times in 20 years,” chef Bombana told STYLE after the event.
Bombana joined forces with four award-winning chefs to curate a 10-hand, five-course dinner pairing menu this year for the gala, alongside guest chefs Keith Yam, Antimo Maria Merone and Riccardo La Perna — from Bombana’s signature restaurants in Hong Kong, Macau and Shanghai respectively – as well as Albert Au, the three-Michelin-starred chef who heads up Lai Sun Dining venues including China Tang and China Club.
The International Alba White Truffle Fair is an annual gastronomic celebration of the region’s white truffle harvest. During the festival, the Alba White Truffle World Auction is held on the second Sunday of November at Castello di Grinzane Cavour, a historic 13th century castle located amid a Unesco heritage site.
Note – This story was originally published on SCMP and has been republished on this website