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Auctions

Li family of Hong Kong’s Kowloon Dairy behind record price of HK$850,000 for white truffle at Italian auction

  • Group led by family member snapped up the 880 gram prized fungus at annual charity auction
  • Four lots of white truffle sold for combined HK$2.15 million
PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 November, 2018, 11:01pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2018, 4:44pm

The Li family of Kowloon Dairy forked out a record HK$850,000 (US$108,975) for an Italian white truffle at a charity auction on Sunday night that saw the city’s business brass once again beat culinary bidders for the rare delicacy.

A source familiar with the auction said a group led by an offspring of the Li family, which co-founded milk producer Kowloon Dairy, snapped up the 880 gram (two-pound) prized fungus. At HK$966 (US$123) per gram (.035 ounce), the price was 16 per cent higher than at last year’s auction.

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He and three other groups of buyers, mostly businessmen, bid for four lots of white truffle – also known as “white gold” – which sold for a combined HK$2.15 million (US$275,000).

Other bidding groups were led by asset manager Stephen King, nephew of former Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee-hwa, a mainland Chinese investor and a Westerner, the source said.

Michelin-starred restaurant 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana in Central live-streamed the annual auction, which was held in Italy. Its Michelin-starred chef Umberto Bombana was the host in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong buyer forks out HK$750,000 for Italian white truffles at charity auction

“Many of the restaurant’s regulars returned for this year’s auction,” the source said.

The 19th World Alba White Truffle Auction was held at Grinzane Cavour Castle, a Unesco heritage manor in northwest Italy. Alba, a small town nearby, is known as the country’s white truffle capital.

The giant truffle was immediately put on a flight after the auction and was expected to arrive in Hong Kong on Tuesday afternoon.

A spokeswoman of 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana said the buyers had requested that the truffle would be partly used at the restaurant.

This was the eighth year Bombana had hosted the streamed event, with the proceeds going to Hong Kong charity Mother’s Choice, which supports pregnant teenagers.

More than 80 diners took part in the charity auction, with each paying HK$11,000 (US$1,400) for a dinner paired with wine and white truffle. The dinner cost 25 per cent more than last year.

The dinner and auction raised a total of HK$3.5 million (US$447,000) for charity.