Biggest truffle (780 grams) sold to restaurateur Wolfgang Puck for Lire 12,500,000, to be served in his Hollywood restaurant to stars Sharon Stone and Julia Roberts.
On 31st October 1999 Alba was the stage for a grand spectacle: the World Truffle Auction. Though heralded in advance as a success, it exceeded the brightest of expectations. For the first time, eight of the finest and most pre-eminent chefs in the world left their kitchens to become the “stars” of an absolutely unprecedented auction: centre-stage were eight well-sized, high quality truffles offered as lots by the same number of local truffle dealers. The most original aspect was the matching with each precious specimen of one of the biggest names in the restaurant business worldwide: Sirio Maccioni, the owner of the “Le Cirque 2000” restaurant in New York; Ferran Adrià, restaurateur of Barcelona’s “El Bulli”; Piero Selvaggio, proprietor of “Valentino’s” in Santa Monica, California; Wolfgang Puck, chef of the Beverly Hills “Spago” restaurant; from London, Gary Rhodes of “City Rhodes” and Alberico Penati of “Harry’s Bar”; and two great chefs from Munich, Eckart Witzigmann and Mario Gamba. The ingredients to create an exceptional event were all there: the aroma of the truffles, the guests of honour and outstanding testimonials, and - above-all - a top news story that spurred leading publications and television channels to send their most well-established correspondents to attend the event. Added to this explosive mix was the entertaining comedy of the famous Italian actor Renato Pozzetto as auctioneer, while the event found an irreplaceable source of inspiration and animation in food and wine journalist Davide Paolini’s perfect direction. The “audience” was what you would expect for a big occasion, made up as it was of very well-known personalities fascinated by the singular show and stimulated by the venture’s generous spirit, with the proceeds of the millionaire auction being donated to the Community of San Patrignano.
2000 TRUFFLE AUCTION
Linked by satellite with Tokyo-Fuji Television
Total proceeds Lire 83,300,000
Biggest truffle (490 grams) sold to Mariano Toffoletto of the Jolly Hotel in Amsterdam for Lire 15,200,000
The 2000 Truffle Auction was dedicated to femininity: the celebrities were all strictly women from the worlds of entertainment and fashion, and the male chefs of the previous edition were replaced on the bill by the finest and best-known “cuisinières” in the world: Carme Ruscalleda (Sant Pau – Sant Pol De Mar – Barcelona), Ghislaine ARABIAN (formerly of Ledoyen – Paris), Doris Katharina HESSLER (Hessler – Maintal), Luisa VALAZZA (Sorriso – Soriso – Novara), Lidia ALCIATI (Da Guido – Costigliole d’Asti), Nadia MORONI (Aimo e Nadia – Milan), Claire CLARK (London), and Diana RINALDO (Spighetta – London).
The auction was linked by satellite with the headquarters of Fuji Television in Tokyo, where 300 illustrious personalities from the Japanese world of finance took part.
The auctioneer and the event’s great moving spirit and “godfather” on the day was ANDREA PEZZI.
2001 TRUFFLE AUCTION
Linked by satellite with New York and Munich
Total proceeds Lire 112,900,000
Biggest truffle (490 grams) sold to Wolfgang Puck for his flagship Los Angeles Spago Restaurant for Lire 40,000,000
New York and Munich hosted the satellite links with the hall in Grinzane Castle.
Tony May’s San Domenico Restaurant was the prestigious venue in New York – Manhattan, with Bruno Ceretto making a trip to the States specially for the occasion.
In Munich the auction was held at the Acquerello, the restaurant of Mario Gamba, one of the guests at the first Truffle Auction.
In Grinzane the auction was conducted by the well-known television presenter Massimo Giletti.
2002 TRUFFLE AUCTION
Linked by satellite with Los Angeles and New York
Total proceeds € 125,500.00
Biggest truffle (1007 grams) sold to the Hollywood movie producer Alain Giraud for € 34,000.00
An increasingly internationally-flavoured auction!! No fewer than 125,000 Euros were collected and donated to the earthquake victims in the Molise region of Italy and the Italian Cancer Research Association AIRC, with satellite links with the Valentino Restaurant in Hollywood and San Domenico’s in New York showing the great interest across the ocean for this unique treasure. Alongside the guests from the world of entertainment, Maria Teresa Ruta and Massimo Giletti, the real stars of the show were the dealers whose large-sized truffles made available as lots included a record specimen: a truffle weighing more than one kilo. This truly rare piece was bought by French-bred Hollywood movie producer, Alain Giraud, who had recently opened a restaurant in the city of film. One curious fact: taking part in the auction too was the millionaire dog Gunter, who honoured his category by taking the bidding for the finest specimen right down to the wire.
2003 TRUFFLE AUCTION
Linked by satellite with Las Vegas and New York
Total proceeds € 129,900.00
Biggest truffle (500 grams) sold to Las Vegas for € 30,000.00
Wolfgang Puck, the Austrian-born Los Angeles restaurateur, proprietor of 22 premises and leading ambassador of the White Truffle of Alba in the world, has no doubts: “The truffle is a unique product. I love Piedmont, and I’m crazy about its wines and scenery. But the real king of this land is the truffle. It’s better than any other food. I love it. More than caviar”.
A product which can truly be said to be legendary in the world of food and wine when its auctioning manages to attract so many celebrities. Even to the extent of an unprecedented Juventus-Milan match being played out, with the top managers of both teams - Galliani and Giraudo - attending the auction in the Hall of Masks of Grinzane Cavour Castle, along with the eagerly-awaited star footballer Alessandro Del Piero, who also took the opportunity to acquire a precious 404-gram truffle for 8,500 dollars.
Other guests included the President of the Piedmont Region, Enzo Ghigo, the famous designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, and the Director of the Rai Uno TV channel Fabrizio Del Noce, with TV presenter Piero Chiambretti wielding the hammer. The largest specimen, weighing 500 grams, was purchasedfor 30,000 dollars in Las Vegas, and the proceeds of the Auction were donated to the Cancer Research and Care Institute in Candiolo (Turin).
2004 TRUFFLE AUCTION
Linked by satellite with Moscow and New York
Total proceeds $ 241,300
Biggest truffle (1050 grams) sold for $ 41,000 to an elderly New York restaurateur, renowned for his good nature and spirit in assisting people in difficulty
Organized in association with the Four Seasons Hotel in New York and the GUM Gallery in Moscow.
Leading entertainment celebrities were present in Grinzane, along with the very best in French gastronomy, Alain Ducasse. Auctioneer Davide Paolini was joined bymodel Natasha Stefanenko.
GRINZANE CAVOUR: Candiolo Cancer Research and Care Institute, Turin
NEW YORK: Citymeals on Wheels – an association that provides meals to the elderly
MOSCOW: the Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Centre for the Support of Abandoned Children.
2005 TRUFFLE AUCTION
Linked by satellite with London and Hong Kong
Total proceeds € 182,900.00
Biggest truffle (1200 grams) sold to Hong Kong for € 95,000.00
The VII edition of the World White Truffle of Alba Auction proved to be a great success, with bidders in three different locations - Grinzane, London and Hong Kong - paying out a total of 182,900.00 Euros.
The finest lot, weighing 1 kg 200 grams, was sold to a bidder in Hong Kong.
The President of the Regional Enoteca, Senator Zanoletti, and the President of the Region of Piedmont, Mercedes Bresso, were joined for the occasion at Grinzane Cavour Castle by Alessandro Perissinotto, Giada De Blanc and television presenter Giancarlo Magalli.
Davide Paolini led the Auction for the seventh time, assisted by the stunning Natalia Estrada.
The title of “Ambassador of the White Truffle of Alba in the World” was awarded in London to Alberigo Penati, the great chef of the exclusive Harry's Bar, and in Hong Kong to Umberto Bombana.
The proceeds of the Auction were donated to three different organizations: the Candiolo Cancer Research and Care Institute in Italy,Mother’s Choice in Hong Kong, and the Hands and Hearts Foundation in London.
2006 TRUFFLE AUCTION
Linked by satellite with Paris and Hong Kong
Total proceeds € 254,500.00
Largest lot (1509 grams) sold to a Hong Kong banker for € 125,000.00
A new record was set during the VIII edition of the World White Truffle of Alba Auction, with overall proceeds of 254,500.00 Euros spread over the three locations linked by satellite: Grinzane, Paris and Hong Kong. The highest single bid arrived from Hong Kong, where a record 125,000 Euros was reached for the final lot after an exciting battle between rival bidders in the three venues. The lot comprised three separate specimens weighing 500-600 gr. each, for a total of more than 1.5 kg.
One of the bidders for this lot was also one of the central figures featuring throughout the auction: Gerard Depardieu in Paris (Les Ambassadeurs Restaurant on Place de la Concorde), who did manage to purchase another truffle with a bid of 25,000 Euros. The Truffle Auction’s great appeal was therefore confirmed once again, along with its remarkable capacity to attract attention and considerable bids, helped by its charitable objectives.
Worth noting also is the fact that, while in past editions the lots attracting the highest bids were specimens of rare dimensions, the new record figure was reached by a lot made up of several truffles. This goes to show that in the end it is quality that counts, rather than exceptional size, and that it is the taste and aroma of the White Truffle of Alba that exercises such great allure. The President of the Regional Enoteca, Senator Tomaso Zanoletti, and the President of the Region of Piedmont, Mercedes Bresso, were joined for the occasion by Ricky Tognazzi, Simona Izzo, Edelfa Chiara Masciotta (Miss Italy 2005), and a public that included leading representatives from the worlds of Italian politics, culture and business.
The Auction was conducted for the eighth time by Davide Paolini, alongside the popular television presenter Gerry Scotti, a fan of quality food & wine who proved to be completely at his ease in this context. The “Ambassador of the White Truffle of Alba in the World” award was given to one of the greatest chefs in Spain and Europe, Martin Berasategui, whose restaurant is near San Sebastian, and to Kashirin Maxim, an important distributor of Italian wines in Russia.
The proceeds of the Auction in Italy and France were donated to the Cancer Research and Care Institute in Candiolo, Italy, and in Hong Kong to the Mother’s Choicecharity.
2007 TRUFFLE AUCTION
Linked by satellite with Berlin and Hong Kong
Total proceeds € 364,600.00
Largest lot : twin truffle weighing a total of 750 grams, sold to a wealthy young Asian from the world of finance for € 143,000.00 !!
All records were broken during the IX White Truffle of Alba Auction held atGrinzane CavourCastle, in the Langhe. With satellite links to the prestigious Adlon Kempinsky hotel in Berlin and the Ritz Carlton in Hong Kong, a series of thrilling bidding contests resulted in exceptional proceeds of€ 364,600, topping the stratospheric total of € 254,500 reached in the 2006 edition.
For the third year in succession, the final lot - a wonderful twin specimen weighing a total of 750 grams - was sold to a bidder in Hong Kong, following an exciting battle with Grinzane and Berlin. By offering the generous sum of € 143,000, this wealthy young Asian from the world of finance beat last year’s record bid of € 125,000.
Among the public in Grinzane were to be seen intellectuals including Magdi Allam, well-known journalist and essayist and Deputy Editor of the Corriere della Sera newspaper, Benedetta Cibrario, the writer and author of an entrant in this year’s Grinzane Cavour Book Prize, “Rossovermiglio”, and celebrities from the world of entertainment, such as Serena Autieri, Pamela Prati, Ela Weber and the television writer and presenter Livia Azzariti.
The proceedings were led for the ninth time by the ever-present “Gastronaut” Davide Paolini, who was joined this year by Bruno Vespa and Cristina Parodi. The two presenters proved to be most enthusiastic and popular, encouraging bidding to great effect.
The “Ambassador of the White Truffle of Alba in the World” award went to Jean-François Piège, the multi-starred chef of the prestigious Les Ambassadeurs at the Hotel de Crillon, the only restaurant on Place de La Concorde in Paris.
The proceeds of the Auction were donated once more to the Cancer Research and Care Institute in Candiolo, Italy, which was represented in Grinzane byDonna Allegra Agnelli,and to the Mother’s Choiceorganisation in Hong Kong.
2008 TRUFFLE AUCTION
Linked by satellite with Merano and Tokyo
Total proceeds € 118,000.00
Largest lot: a truffle weighing 850 grams, sold in Tokyo to Nicky Hilton (Paris Hilton’s sister) for € 24,000.00
The tenth edition of the World Auction promoting the most precious underground fungus, the White Truffle of Alba, was held on Sunday 9th November 2008 in Grinzane Cavour Castle, with the Ritz Carlton in Tokyo and the Gourmet Arena of the International Wine Festival & Culinaria in Merano linked by satellite. Out of the 16 lots to come under the hammer - 5 at each venue plus one hotly-contested by all three - the highest price was reached in Tokyo, where Paris Hilton’s sister Nicky Hilton, the president of a company producing bags and accessories, walked away with a specimen weighting 850 grams for 24 thousand Euros. A well-known producer of Franciacorta was another of the buyers during this edition.
“Gastronaut” Davide Paolini was joined in conducting the Auction by comic actor Ezio Greggio and Federica Nargi and Costanza Caracciolo, the dancers who appear alongside him in presenting a popular TV programme. Other famous faces attending from the worlds of entertainment, sport and culture included: the presenter and writer Livia Azzariti, the model and actress Martina Colombari, Miss Italia 2000 Tania Zamparo, the singer-songwriter Francesco Renga, the 2008 Beijing Olympics canoeing champion Josefa Idem, the new presenter of the “La Prova del Cuoco” TV programme Elisa Isoardi, and the writer from Ruanda Scholastique Mukasonga, the guest of honour invited by the Grinzane Cavour Book Prize.
Heinz Beck, Executive Chef of the "La Pergola" Gourmet Restaurant at the Cavalieri Hilton in Rome, received the “Ambassador of the White Truffle of Alba in the World” award. Originally from Friedrichshafen (Germany), Heinz Beck is a leading member of the “Who’s Who” of European cuisine. The culinary genius behind the finest restaurant in the Italian Capital, awarded two Michelin stars in 2001, he obtained the coveted three stars in 2006.
The lots in the three Auction locations taking part in the tenth edition reached a total of 118 thousand Euros. The proceeds were donated to the Tokyo branch of United Ways (an international humanitarian association with 1300 organizations throughout the world involved in restoring dignity and health to families in difficulty, and assisting in their education and introduction to the world of work), the CandioloCancer Research and Care Institute and, for the first time, the Alba-Bra HospitalFoundation, which has been set up to acquire funds to support the new facility in Verduno.
2009 TRUFFLE AUCTION
Linked by satellite with Hong Kong
Total auction proceeds € 250,000
Most significant lot: truffle weighing 750 grams, bought in Hong Kong for € 100,000
The eleventh edition of the World White Truffle of Alba Auction was held at Grinzane Cavour Castle, linked by satellite with Crown Wine Cellars in Hong Kong.
Of the 11 lots, 5 were up for auction in each venue, while the eleventh and last specimen weighing in at 750 grams was contested live between the two locations. After an exciting series of raises, the floor in Piedmont failed in their bid to acquire this truffle, which will be winging its way to Hong Kong for the princely sum of 100 thousand Euros. The total proceeds of the Auction, meanwhile, reached 250 thousand Euros.
Gastronaut Davide Paolini was joined in presenting the event by Linus, Mara Venier and Enzo Iacchetti. Seated in the audience was Silvana Giacobini, editor of the magazine Diva e Donna.
Receiving awards as ambassadors of the truffle in the world were: David Fishman, the 13-year-old American gourmet who contributes to the famous New York guide Zagat and watched the bidding in the company of his parents; Daniel Libeskind, the international architect and urban designer; Jancis Robinson, one of the most authoritative writers on wine who was crowned “(Wo)Man of the Year” by the British magazine Decanter in 1999; Franck Cerutti of the Louis XV restaurant at the Grand Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo; Cesare Casella chef of the Salumeria Rosi in New York, president of the city’s Italian Culinary Academy, and friend of the young Fishman; Julian Ante Niccolini of the Four Seasons in Manhattan; and Anne W. Burrell, host of a famous cookery show on American TV (Secrets of a Restaurant Chef).
The proceeds will be going to the Tempera Earthquake Emergency Fund, an independent organization which is collecting money for the building of a nursery school on the site where the school in this suburb of L’Aquila used to stand. Also benefiting will be the Changing Young Lives Foundation (a charitable institution which has been assisting needy children and young people for decades), Mother’s Choice in Hong Kong (which supports orphans and young mothers in difficulty), and the new premises of the Avis blood-donors association in Alba (CN).
2010 TRUFFLE AUCTION
Linked by satellite with Hong Kong
Total auction proceeds € 307,200 !!!
Most significant lot: truffle weighing 936 grams, sold to a bidder in Hong Kong for € 105,000
A record-breaking auction: 13 truffles under the hammer for a total of 307.2 thousand Euros. Of the two finest specimens, one was sold in Hong Kong for 105 thousand Euros to influential Chinese wine expert and critic, Jeannie Cho Lee, while 100 thousand Euros was bid for the other in Grinzane by green energy entrepreneur Antonio Bertolotto from Cuneo, who will be donating the two twin truffles he snapped up to Pope Benedict XVI and Michele Ferrero, the businessman who has made Italy famous throughout the world. He also secured lot 4 in Grinzane for 8 thousand Euros, and will be presenting it to the Governor of Veneto, Luca Zaia, in a spirit of brotherhood at this difficult time for everyone in that region.
This year Grinzane Cavour Castle was linked by satellite with “8 e ½”, the best-loved Italian restaurant in Hong Kong run by chef Umberto Bombana.
The Auction was conducted from Grinzane by Radio 24’s “gastronaut” journalist Davide Paolini, who was joined by actress and TV presenter Mara Venier, TV presenter Massimo Giletti, eclectic actor and presenter Enzo Iacchetti, the stunning Brazilian showgirl Juliana Moreira, and journalist Francesca Senette. Also present in the room were the President of the Piedmont Region Roberto Cota, the regional councillor responsible for Tourism Alberto Cirio, the editor of the national Libero newspaper Maurizio Belpietro, journalist Maria Pia Ammirati, chef Gianfranco Vissani, singer and wine producer Omar Pedrini, politicians and members of the Government, local administrators and authorities, and representatives of the Police.
The Auction took place in the presence of the Speaker of the Senate, Renato Schifani.
The “Ambassador of the truffle in the world” award was presented to chefs Aimo and Nadia Moroni, authentic interpreters of Italian food culture and creators of ‘Il luogo di Aimo e Nadia’ in Milan, where haute cuisine matching genuine Italian flavours encounters art; and to Mauro Stoppani of Peck, the Milan store established as long ago as 1883, which has become a bona fide institution of Italian food and wine.
For the first time, the proceeds from the 6th lot acquired by a bidder in Hong Kong were awarded by the Cavour Piedmontese Regional Enoteca in the form of 3 thousand Euro scholarships to five deserving students selected in as many regions of Italy.This new project was set up to put paid to the idea that the truffle is of exclusively élite interest, and to underline its social and cultural function. That is not all though, because the remaining proceeds of this twelfth edition of the World White Truffle of Alba Auction will be donated to national and international philanthropic organizations and institutes: Mother’s Choice in Hong Kong (an institute which supports orphans and young mothers in difficulty), the New Alba-Bra Hospital Foundation, and the Alba branch of the national blood-donors organization, Avis.
2011 TRUFFLE AUCTION
Linked by satellite with Hong Kong
Total auction proceeds € 227,200 (+ € 16,500.00 for the flooded village of Borghetto Vara - SP)
Most significant lot: twin truffles weighing a total of 1.253 grams, bought in Hong Kong for € 98,000.00
These were the staggering results of the XIII edition of the World White Truffle of Alba Auction: 12 truffles sold for a total of 227,200euro. Particularly spectacular was the final lot, hotly-contested live by satellite between bidders in Grinzane and Hong Kong. Not just one, but “twin” specimens unearthed in the same hole by a very lucky hunter: the first to be found, weighing 503 grams, concealed the second - 750 grams - just a few centimetres away. The “smaller” of the two, on display in Hong Kong, will now be joined by the second, in Grinzane for the auction, as the exceptional pair weighing a total of 1253 grams was finally knocked down, following a thrilling bidding contest, to Jim Thompson in the Chinese metropolis for the dizzy amount of 98,000 euro. This year Grinzane Cavour Castle was linked live by satellite with chef Umberto Bombana’s “Island Tang” restaurant in Hong Kong’s Central business district. The Auction was led by “gastronaut” Radio 24 journalist Davide Paolini, who was joined by actress and TV presenter Mara Venier, TV presenter Massimo Giletti, eclectic comedian Enzo Iacchetti, and spirited showgirl Elenoire Casalegno. Amongst the prestigious public was also seated the well-known “king” of tortellini and other specialty food delicacies, entrepreneur Giovanni Rana. The “Ambassador of the White Truffle of Alba in the World” award was presented to the chefs: Antonello Colonna of the Open restaurant in Rome, the first example of a “maison gourmet” and the first space for contemporary events in a late 19th-century setting; Jonathan Benno of New York’s Lincoln Restaurant, celebrated for perfect techniques and fuss-free current cuisine; Giorgio Travaini, proprietor of the famous “Il Salumaio di Montenapoleone” in Milan, and constant user of Alba White Truffle in the preparation of dishes for vip and gourmet diners; and Fulvio Pierangelini, winner of the 2010 Alba White Truffle Award, former proprietor of the renowned “Gambero Rosso” in S. Vincenzo (LI), and currently an enthusiastic promoter of Italian cuisine in the finest restaurants in the world. New for the 2011 Auction was the Cooking Show which took place the evening before in Ristorante La Rei at the Boscareto Resort e Spa in Serralunga d’Alba. Antonello Colonna and Jonathan Benno, along with Fulvio Pierangelini, formed a jury chaired by Mara Venier to judge dishes enthusiastically prepared by some of the guest celebrities during a culinary contest based on the White Truffle of Alba. In recognition of their efforts in the kitchen, Massimo Giletti, Oliviero Toscani, Giorgetto Giugiaro andElenoire Casalegno were presented with a “Alba White Truffle Cooking Award”. The winner of the competition was judged to be Oliviero Toscani. The proceeds of the World White Truffle of Alba Auction are donated to national and international philanthropic organizations and institutes. The sum raised by this thirteenth edition will be going to the “Changing Young Lives” Foundation in Hong Kong, and locally to institutions working in the social sphere, with the recipients still to be decided. A special act of solidarity focused on flood victims in the nearby region of Liguria. A special sixth lot was auctioned in Grinzane, raising 16,500 euro which will be donated to Borghetto di Vara, a small commune in the area of La Spezia which was particularly hit by the recent natural disaster. The Mayor, Fabio Vincenzi, was present at the Auction, along with the other members of the local Council.
2013 TRUFFLE AUCTION
Linked by satellite with Hong Kong
Total auction proceeds € 274,200.00
Most significant lot: twin truffles weighing a total of 950 grams, sold to a bidder in Hong Kong for € 90,000.00
A great edition of the World White Truffle of Alba Auction, staged for the XIV time in Grinzane Cavour Castle. Eleven was the number of magnificent specimens of tuber magnatum pico sold at auction, for an overall total of 274,200 euro. The spectacular final lot competed for live by satellite between the participants in Grinzane and Hong Kong comprised a pair of truffles of the highest quality presented as a single lot weighing 950 grams. The highest bidder, at 90,000 euro, turned out to be a famous Chinese authoress who preferred to remain anonymous. The Auction was led from Grinzane by Gastronaut Davide Paolini – a journalist and food & wine expert who is a friend and habitué of the Auction -, the Cuneo-born presenter Elisa Isoardi from Italy’s flagship TV broadcaster Rai, and journalist Fabrizio Del Noce, formerly the Director of the Rai Uno channel and now President of La Venaria Reale. Leading proceedings in Hong Kong from the prestigious “8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA” restaurant of 3 Michelin star chef Umberto Bombana was Pietro Ratti, President of the Barolo and Barbaresco Wine Consortium. Among the notable guests at the event were Allegra Agnelli, President of the Piedmontese Cancer Research Foundation in Candiolo (To), champion cyclist Mario Cipollini and the Managing Director of the Giro d'Italia, Mauro Vegni. During the course of the event, “Ambassador of the White Truffle of Alba in the world” awards were given to some champions of national and international cuisine, chefs: Emmanuel Renaut of the Flocon De Sel restaurant in Megève, France (three Michelin stars); Bernard Pacaud of L'Ambroisie in Paris, France (three Michelin stars); Nino di Costanzo of Ischia’s Il Mosaico (2 Michelin stars); and Cesare Giaccone of La Bottega Ristorante da Cesare in Albaretto della Torre. A number of up-and-coming chefs were also well-deserved recipients of the award: Tomaz Kavcic of Gostilna Pri Lojzetu in Zemono (Slovenia); Christian Milone of Trattoria Zappatori in Pinerolo (To); Giuseppe Iannotti of the Kresios restaurant in Telese Terme (Bn); and Eugenio Boer ofMilan’s Elita Bar. The Ischian chef Nino di Costanzo presided over the jury, composed of the moral winners of Masterchef, Maurizio Rosazza Prin and Andrea Marconetti, who - on Saturday 9th, at the Boscareto Resort and Spa in Serralunga d'Alba - judged the dishes enthusiastically prepared in a fun challenge by journalists Marisa Fumagalli, Pier Bergonzi, Roberta Schira and Roberto Perrone, They were deservedly rewarded with “Alba White Truffle Cooking Awards”, while the winner, announced during the Auction, was Roberta Schira. The proceeds of this fourteenth edition have been donated to the Piedmontese Cancer Research Charity Foundation in Candiolo (To), and will also go towards the purchasing of a new CT scanner for Alba’s San Lazzaro Hospital. Benefitting in Hong Kong will be the Mother's Choice Institute, which supports orphans and young mothers in difficulty.
2014 TRUFFLE AUCTION
Linked by satellite with Hong Kong
Total auction proceeds € 302.000,00
Most significant lot: twin truffles weighing a total of 1 kg, sold to Hong Kong for € 100.000,00
The Auction was led from the Castle of Grinzane Cavour (recently recognized as Unesco World Heritage), by Gastronaut Davide Paolini, presenter Elisa Isoardi, actor, comedian and presenter Enzo Iacchetti and by Andro Merkù, journalist and brilliant imitator.
Eleven was the number of magnificent specimens of tuber magnatum pico sold to auction between Grinzane Cavour and Hong Kong, together with bottles of Barolo and Barbaresco, for an overall total of 302.000 Euros.
The highlight was represented by a gourmet entrepreneur in Hong Kong, who wants to remain anonymous, who has spent the hyperbolic amount of 100.000 Euros.
In Hong Kong the Auction was presented by Pietro Ratti, President of the Consorzio di Tutela Barolo e Barbaresco and was hosted at the prestigious 3 Michelin stars restaurant “8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA” of Chef Umberto Bombana.
During the event two champions of the national and international cuisine were given the award “Ambassador of the White Truffle of Alba in the world”: chef Enrico Crippa of the Restaurant “Piazza Duomo” of Alba with 3 Michelin stars, ranking 39 in the “World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2014” and Chef Michel Troisgros, 3 Michel stars as well, owner of the restaurant Maison Troisgros in Roanne, along the Loire river.
On Saturday the 8th of November there was also the awarding ceremony of the “Alba White Truffle Cooking Show” between a group of journalists. The ceremony was hosted at the restaurant La Rei of the Boscareto Restort and Spa in Serralunga d’Alba. The participants of this gastronomic challenge were Maddalena Fossati of Vanity Fair, Andrea Grignaffini, artistic director of Spirito diVino, Fernanda Roggero, Food&wine editor ilSole24ore and Federica De Luca, Dove magazine. The participantshad to cook dishes with the valuable White Truffle of Alba. The dishes have been assessed by a jury composed of Roberta Schira (Corriere della Sera, winner of the past edition), John Suley (Executive chef of Celebrity Cruises) and the well-known entrepreneur Giovanni Rana.
The proceeds of this XV edition of the International White Truffle of Alba Auction have been donated to the Piedmontese Cancer Research Onlus Foundation in Candiolo (To) and to the Foundation for the New Hospital Alba Bra Onlus. Benefiting in Hong Kong will be the Insitute Mother’s Choice, to support young orphans and young mothers in difficulty.
2015 TRUFFLE AUCTION
Linked by satellite with Hong Kong and a Royal Caribbean cruiseliner sailing towards the Harbour of New York
Total Auction proceeds € 287.500,00
Most significant lot: a truffle weighing 900 grams, bought in Hong Kong by an entrepreneur for a total amount of € 100.000,00!
The amusement, the joyful expectation for the best bid and the entertainment have been guaranteed by true superstars and faithful habitués: Gastronaut, journalist, food and wine expert Davide Paolini, the amusing Enzo Iacchetti, comedian and TV presenter, one of the most well-known participants of the Auction, the showgirl Elenoire Casalegno, a welcome return after having been absent for a few editions and journalist and imitator Andro Merkù, famous for his very funny imitations on “La Zanzara”, a programme of Radio24.
La Pina and Diego of Radio Deejay have also contributed to promoting one of the truffle lots among the audience. Entrepreneur Giovanni Rana was present as well: always a very welcome guest.
In Hong Kong the Auction was led by Orlando Pecchenino of the Consorzio di Tutela Barolo e Barbaresco Alba Langhe e Dogliani and by Mauro Carbone Director of Atl Alba Bra Langhe Roero and was hosted by the
prestigious three Michelin stars restaurant “8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA” of Italian chef Umberto Bombana, a long-time friend of this charity event.
The company Royal Caribbean, based in Miami (Florida, USA), managed to bring back home a 360 grams truffle, that will be served during exclusive dinners onboard of the ships, as announced by Vice President of Food&Beverage Operations of Royal Caribbean John Suley.
In Grinzane a fabulous lot of 520 grams was conquered by Dong Zhenxiang, one of the most original and innovative Chinese chefs, owner in Beijing of a restaurant bearing his name.
This year the Castle has hosted many guests from China who have actively participated with passionate bids.
During this edition, the special prize “Ambassador of the White Truffle of Alba in the world” was awarded to a myth of the international cuisine, Joan Roca, of the three Michel stars restaurant “El Celler de Can Roca” in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Joan Roca and his brothers Josep and Jordi have contributed to making their restaurant win top spot at “The World's 50 Best Restaurants” in 2015, after having obtained the same result in 2013.
This year the proceeds of the Auction, for the Italian part, will be donated to the Fondazione Nuovo Ospedale Alba Bra Onlus. While in Hong Kong they will go to Mother's Choice to support young orphans and mothers in difficulty.
2016 TRUFFLE AUCTION
Linked with Philadelphia and Hong Kong
Total proceeds of auction € 450,000.00!!
Most significant lot: a twin truffle weighing a total of 1170 grams, purchased in Grinzane by Chinese chef Zhenxiang Dong for € 100,500.00!
The hall in Grinzane Cavour enjoyed some great entertainment, with contributions from a number of long-standing friends of the Auction including showman Enzo Iacchetti, and - auctioneer par excellence, as well as journalist, food & wine expert - Gastronaut Davide Paolini. New on the female front for this year’s edition were the delightful and lively Roberta Lanfranchi, an actress and presenter who is one of the leading ladies of Italian TV entertainment, and impressionist Emanuela Aureli, whose amusing takes on home-grown celebrities ranged from Mara Venier and Barbara D’Urso to Milly Carlucci, Raffaella Carrà and Sabrina Ferilli, ending with a triumphant impersonation of Sophia Loren. Also present was fellow impressionist Andro Merkù, well-known to the general public for his irruptions on Radio24’s “La Zanzara” programme. Among the public were representatives of a number of institutional and political authorities and law enforcement agencies, regular attendee entrepreneur Giovanni Rana representing the world of business, and celebrities of the calibre of actor Daniel McVicar, well-known for his appearances in TV series and soap operas. This year the Alba White Truffle Auction wanted to show its sympathy and support for the capital of the Black truffle, Norcia, which was heavily struck by the earthquake at the end of October. Present in the hall was a delegation from the Umbrian town, led by Deputy Mayor Pier Luigi Altavilla, who expressed deep-felt words of appreciation for the solidarity received from all Italians, in particular the Piedmontese. Gathered together in Philadelphia were around 150 American guests of N.I.A.F. (National Italian American Foundation), in its prestigious Union League headquarters. Due to the time difference, in Hong Kong the Auction was held the previous evening, once again hosted by three-star chef and friend of the event, Umberto Bombana, in his “8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana” restaurant. The Chinese metropolis confirms its place as an excellent marketplace of enthusiastic gourmets willing to splash out staggering sums on truffles, especially if it is in aid of charity. Receiving the special “Ambassador of the Alba White Truffle in the World” award this year were three outstanding chefs: two proud holders of 2 Michelin stars - Mauro Colagreco, proprietor of Mirazur in Menton (France) which climbed to 6th place in the 2016 list of “The World's 50 Best Restaurants”, and Philippe Leveille of Miramonti L'altro in Concesio (Brescia, Italy) - and Zhenxiang Dong, the multi award-winning chef of the Da Dong chain bearing his name, set out from Beijing to conquer the world, and this year was admitted to the Hall of Fame of Chinese restaurateurs. An Ambassador for the Alba tuber was also nominated in Philadelphia: Union League’s Executive chef, Martin Hamann. The proceeds of the 2016 Alba White Truffle Auction are being allocated as follows: in the United States, to the philanthropic activities undertaken by N.I.A.F.; in Hong Kong, the resources donated to Mother's Choice will be used to support orphans and young mothers in difficulty; and as far as the event’s homeland is concerned, the funds will be shared between the New Alba Bra Hospital Foundation, and the earthquake victims in central Italy, in particular the town of Norcia.
2017 TRUFFLE AUCTION
Linked with Hong Kong and Dubai
Total proceeds of auction € 370,000 !
Most significant lot: a twin truffle weighing a total of 850 grams, acquired by financier Eugene Fung of Hong Kong for € 75,000
Ten marvelous lots of the prized Tuber magnatum Pico went under the hammer in Grinzane Cavour, Hong Kong (hosted by Ristorante 8 e ½ Bombana) and Dubai (the Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre), paired with prestigious magnums of Barolo and Barbaresco wine. While the first lots were auctioned in the three different locations, the final one was contested live by satellite among the guests present in Grinzane Cavour, Hong Kong and Dubai. The public were won over by the trifolau – truffle-hunters in the local dialect – accompanied by their dogs, the legendary tabui, generally cross-breeds well-trained in sniffing out truffles. Great amusement was generated in the hall at Grinzane Cavour by a historic friend of the Auction, Enzo Iacchetti, star of Channel 5’s satirical news show “Striscia la notizia”. This year he was up against another famous face from the Italian comedy scene, director and actor Roberto Ciufoli, formerly of the Premiata Ditta comic TV group, and together they created highly entertaining interludes. Meanwhile, conducting proceedings and putting the lots of truffles and wines up for auction was Raiuno TV presenter Elisa Isoardi, a star already of several previous editions of the event. Many were the faces from the glitterati at Grinzane this year. In a special capacity as “godmother”, with the task of accompanying the prized lots into the hall ready to go under the hammer, was TV presenter, actress and model Elena Santarelli, in the company of her former footballer and National Under 17s coach husband Bernardo Corradi; footballer Alessandro Matri; and Sara Piccinini, a regular guest on Raidue’s “Quelli che il calcio”, who was present with her footballer husband Federico Peluso. Also among the public were other important celebrities from the world of football, including former Juventus defender Ciro Ferrara and Lorenzo De Silvestri. The “Ambassador of the Alba White Truffle in the World” award went to the very popular Antonino Cannavacciuolo, who is also much-loved for his roles as a TV judge and mentor. A true culinary artist, he manages to combine Neapolitan passion and Mediterranean aromas with Piedmontese tradition at his two Michelin star Villa Crespi on Lake Orta. Benefiting from the proceeds of the 2017 World Alba White Truffle Auction will be: in Dubai, the charitable activities of the Al Jalila Foundation; in Hong Kong, the funds raised for Mother's Choice will be used to support orphans and young mothers in difficulty; and as regards the home of the event, the funds will mainly be donated to the New Alba Bra Hospital Foundation.