Cover Chef Umberto Bombana in front of the four white truffle auction lots (Photo: Otto e Mezzo)

The annual white truffle auction at Umberto Bombana’s Italian restaurant sets a new record

On November 10, three Michelin starred restaurant Otto e Mezzo held the 20th edition of the Alba White Truffle World Auction, with over HK$3.5 million raised for the charity Mother’s Choice from five auction lots and a five-course charity dinner.

Known for breaking records nearly every year, the white truffle auction at the acclaimed restaurant didn’t disappoint with the grand lot—a large single white truffle weighing 1kg and 5 grams, plus a double magnum of Massolino Barolo Vigna Rionda 2000 and Cortese Giuseppe Barbaresco Rabaja 1985, and dinner for 12 at Otto e Mezzo. The auction for the behemoth white truffle took place simultaneously in Alba, Moscow and Singapore, with hopefuls volleying escalating bids one after the other. After a little bit of prodding from auctioneer Robert Sleigh of Sotheby’s, and fellow diners in Hong Kong, the 19th and final bid of 120,000 Euros (later converted to HK$1.035 million) was placed by a gentleman at the front of the dining room to rapturous applause. It was the highest bid in the past 12 years of the auction.

It was a result that was unsurprising—as Umberto Bombana told us after the event drew to a close, there were only three times out of the 20 editions of the white truffle auction that Hong Kong did not place the winning bid. With the mood in the room at a high after a five-course wine pairing meal that included dishes cooked by Bombana himself, as well as his friends and proteges Antimo Maria Merone of Otto e Mezzo in Macau, Keith Yam of Otto e Mezzo in Hong Kong, Riccardo La Perna of Otto e Mezzo in Shanghai, and Albert Au of China Club, the auction lots were bid on fast and furiously.

Altogether, Mother’s Choice will receive HK$3.56 million to further their work in supporting young mothers and children in Hong Kong.

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