Gaia Ristorante - famous for its fine Italian food - raised $132,000 for Operation Santa Claus by staging a spectacular carnival-style gala. The Italian restaurant's impressive effort boosted the total to $4,150,913. The charity dinner, which attracted about 60 people, also showcased the performance of the 'Made in Brasil' dancers, who provided a pounding samba and salsa background to the Wednesday evening event. Restaurant owner Pino Piano, who hosted the charity dinner, said he was delighted about the sum of money raised. 'It gives me great pleasure to be able to give back to the community and it was so fun to organise the dinner and dance the night away,' Mr Piano said. The guests were served thin-crust pizza and a diverse four-course dinner prepared by Chef Paolo Monti. The four courses were parmigiana tulip filled with watercress and porcini mushrooms, risotto with goose liver, roasted rack of lamb and Christmas pound cake. The highlight of the evening was the live auction led by writer Nury Vittachi and RTHK Radio 3 presenter Phil Whelan, through which $63,000 was raised. There was fierce bidding for the first print of Vittachi's newest book, The True Story of Santa, which went for $5,200. Other items put up for auction included jewellery, watches, cosmetics, perfumes, a leather jacket, luggage and boots donated by Fitness First, HCL, Elle, Lancome, Herald Holdings and Sandra d'Auriol. Reco Holdings also made an undisclosed donation. Sally Lo, chairman of the Hong Kong Cancer Fund said the dinner was 'lively and interesting'. 'The dinner was so well organised, wonderful and great fun,' Ms Lo said. 'It truly reflected the spirit of Operation Santa Claus, which is revitalised and is actually grabbing everyone's attention.' Another guest, art gallery owner Katie de Tilly, said: 'The evening was perfect. Not only was the food exceptional, it was so much fun, with the dancers and the guests joining in the dancing, which is so rare in a fund-raising dinner.'