If you thought, that a €105,000 truffle was expensive, you need a reality check. Casino mogul Stanley Ho, who’s flagship company SJM Holdings generates roughly a third of Macau’s gaming revenue, has equalled his world record bid of $330,000 for a pair of white truffles at a charity auction on the Chinese enclave.
A pair of these included a huge truffle found in central Tuscany which weighed as much as two pounds (900 grams), and the other found in Molise that weighed as much as 14 ounces (400 grams). The auction was staged at Ho’s Grand Lisboa hotel in the former Portuguese colony of Macau, with bidders participating simultaneously in Rome and London through a satellite link. Sixteen lots of white truffles from different areas of Italy went on the block, raising a total of $417,200 for various charities in Macau, Britain and Italy.
The sale was simulcast in London, Rome and Macau. London auctioneer Piers Boothman of Christie’s held court at Franco’s restaurant in London and bidding was relayed via satellite from Don Alfonso 1890 restaurant in Macau (at Ho’s Grand Lisboa casino) and La Pergola, in Rome.
White truffles are the most expensive and highly prized of Italy’s truffles, and among the most famous are those from Alba in the northern Piedmont region, where pigs or dogs are used to sniff them out during the September-December hunting season.
During the truffle season in Italy, restaurants offer pasta and other dishes containing the edible fungus at sky-high prices.