Grinzane Cavour, November 12th 2017 – The finest specimens of Alba White Truffle arrived on the stage of the XVIII edition of the World Alba White Truffle Auction to once again celebrate this magnificent fruit of the earth in a context of international solidarity.
Ten marvellous lots of the prized Tuber magnatum Pico were up for auction in Grinzane Cavour – in the Unesco site castle that used to belong to the Piedmontese statesman and is home today to the Regional Enoteca that bears his name –, Hong Kong and Dubai, paired with prestigious magnums of Barolo and Barbaresco wine.
While the first lots went under the hammer in the three different locations, the tenth and final lot was contested live by satellite between the guests present in Grinzane Cavour, Hong Kong and Dubai.
The total proceeds of the 2017 edition of the World Alba White Truffle Auction amounted to 370,000 euro.
The 2017 Auction proved to be a crescendo of excitement accompanied by the sound of the auctioneers’ invitations to raise the bidding in the room, producing funding for initiatives aimed at improving health and wellbeing, especially of those in difficulty.
The final lot weighing a total of 850 grams was captured on the Chinese floor by Hong Kong financier Eugene Fung for the considerable sum of 75,000 euro, following a “duel of honour” which took place live with the United Emirates and the Langhe.
Tomaso Zanoletti, President of the Enoteca Regionale Piemontese Cavour: “Although this is a difficult year, lots of top quality local truffles were presented at the Auction and much appreciated by the competing locations. Once again Hong Kong showed itself to be a highly important market, and in general we can say that we achieved the two fundamental objectives this great event sets itself: visibility for our area and our products in the world, and tangible solidarity focused on the needy”.
Orlando Pecchenino, President of the Barolo Barbaresco Alba Langhe and Dogliani Wine Protection Consortium: “The strategic alliance was confirmed once again this year between the great wines of the Langa and the Alba White Truffle, ambassadors worldwide that now speak an international language. The passion for our wines and our cuisine is growing in particular on Oriental markets, but it is accompanied by a love of our culture. In Hong Kong alone, exports of Italian wines enjoyed a peak of 22% in 2017”.
Alberto Valmaggia, the Piedmont Region councillor responsible for the Development of the Mountains, Forests and Truffles: “The appointment with the World Alba White Truffle Auction reinforces the traditions of an area which has already been awarded Unesco heritage recognition, in a rich fusion of know-how, flavours and solidarity. Each year the event attracts a vast number of enthusiasts to Piedmont, and they have the opportunity to experience and savour the typical products of the Langhe in this distinctive scenic setting of great prestige”.
INTERESTING FACT ABOUT THE 2017 AUCTION
Arousing great curiosity and winning over the public were the trifolau – truffle-hunters in the local dialect – accompanied in the hall in Grinzane by their dogs, the legendary tabui, generally cross-breeds well-trained in sniffing out truffles. Groups from the various local areas were present: the Upper Langa, Lower Langa, Roero and Monferrato.
THE PLACES AND PERSONALITIES OF THE 2017 AUCTION
Great amusement in the hall at Grinzane Cavour was generated 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, a former member 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, who had already featured several times at the event in past editions.
Many were the faces from the glitterati at Grinzane this year. In a special capacity as “godmother”, with the task of accompanying the specimens 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.
Among the public were also other important celebrities from the world of football, such as former Juventus defender Ciro Ferrara and Lorenzo De Silvestri.
In attendance were representatives of a number of institutional and political authorities, law enforcement agencies and the business world. Among others, member of the Regional Council Alberto Valmaggia (responsible for the Development of the Mountains, Forests and Truffles), the President of the Cassa di Risparmio di Cuneo Bank Foundation Giandomenico Genta, and President of the National Truffle Study Centre Antonio Degiacomi, who illustrated the properties of the truffles presented.
In Dubai, among those present at the Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre were the Secretary General of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in the United Arab Emirates Mauro Marzocchi, Culture Tourism Sport director Paola Casagrande for the Piedmontese Regional Department of Tourism headed by Antonella Parigi, and Director Mauro Carbone representing the Alba Bra Langhe Roero Tourist Board. They were joined by chef Giorgio Locatelli, the largest importer of Italian Food in Dubai Bushant Gandhi, the President of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Dubai Mohammed Bin Faisal Al Qassimi and representatives of the Al Jalila Foundation, the charity organization to which the funds raised were donated.
In Hong Kong, Umberto Bombana, chef – three Michelin stars since 2012 - and friend of the event, hosted the Auction once again in his “8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana” restaurant, in collaboration with the Mother's Choice Association and Maria Pranzo’s Arète Food&Wine.
Representing Piedmont was Maria Elena Rossi, Director of the Region’s DMO (Destination Management Organization), while ambassadors for the great red wines were Orlando Pecchenino and Pietro Ratti, President and Vice President respectively of the Barolo Barbaresco Alba Langhe and Dogliani Wine Protection Consortium.
The Chinese metropolis confirms its place as an excellent marketplace for enthusiastic gourmets willing to spend staggering sums for truffles, especially if it is in aid of charity.
2017 TRUFFLE AMBASSADOR
It is now customary for the World Alba White Truffle Auction to present the special “Ambassador of the Alba White Truffle in the World” award to chefs who employ the prized hypogeous fungus with great skill. Receiving it this year was the very popular Antonino Cannavacciuolo, who is also much-loved for his roles as a TV judge and mentor. A true culinary artist, at his two-star Michelin Villa Crespi on Lake Orta he manages to combine Neapolitan passion and Mediterranean aromas with Piedmontese tradition.
THE 2017 AUCTION FOR CHARITY
The following organizations will benefit from the proceeds of the 2017 World Alba White Truffle Auction: 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.
Contacts and information:
Cristina Chiambretto – Enoteca Regionale Piemontese Cavour – Tel. 0173/226624