A Taste of Truffles

MACAU. GRAND LISBOA. TRUFFLES. Ingredients that make for an exciting evening.

Not just any truffles but Italian white truffles which are rare and described as the most expensive food in the world. Not just at one location, but from four corners of the world – other than Macau, there were London, Rome and Moscow.

On this date three years ago, we had the opportunity to witness the International Auction of Italian White Truffle 2009 in Grand Lisboa Hotel, Macau, held simultaneously at the other three cities via satellite link. It was the third year Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM) organised the event in Macau.

Invitation Card

Prior to the Auction, a “White Truffle Dinner” was served, prepared by chefs from Don Alfonso 1890. The menu was:

  • Manthis shrimps with an emulsion of its own roes, wild mushrooms and cauliflower sauce.
  • Lasagne of porcini, burrata and fresh thyme with a reduction of “Aglianico” red wine.
  • Veal loin with buffalo mozzarella and pork cheek served with polenta, white asparagus and sage.
  • Variation of chestnuts, pomegranate, persimmon and lavender flowers.
  • Coffee and confectioneries.

Then the action began. At each venue, white truffles came up for auction and participants at the four venues could bid simultaneously for them. We caught a little of the action at the beginning of the auction. It was quite an experience (even intimidating) to see the super rich bid super sums for something that are essentially fungi.

We left before the big bid though. But I was sure the largest truffle lot weighing 800 grams would not leave Macau, like the past two years. True enough, I read the news the following Monday that Macau won the bid at US$250,000. No prize for guessing who the successful bidder was. Of course, the biggest “winners” were the local charities that benefitted from all the proceeds of that night’s auction in Macau.

Prized lots The prized lots on display.

Media & Stage Left: The event attracted a media horde; Right: The stage is set for an exciting evening.

Bidding Left: The emcees came round to seek out the bidders; Right: Three big screens displaying the actions at the other venues.

Our tableLeft: Also at our table were Maria, Alfredo and wife Monica; Right: The main course served with a sprinkle of white truffles, adding flavour and aroma to the dish.

Group Left: The event was organised by Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM); Right: With some of our HK colleagues.