Monday night’s first Istrian White Truffle Auction raised £18,500 for charity, hosted by Istria Tourist Board at Mayfair’s private members club Harry’s Bar. All six lots were auctioned by Lord Harry Dalmeny, Chairman of Sotheby’s, with the largest truffle of the season at 375g purchased by an anonymous London buyer.
All proceeds raised from the evening have been donated to three remarkable, life changing charities including London’s The Felix Project – an organisation that delivers fresh and nutritious food to over 300 London charities, providing enough food to make 6.5 million meals a year, Chain of Hope – a charity providing life-saving heart treatments and Veruda Day Care Center in Istria’s Pula, providing rehabilitation for young children and adults with disabilities.
A gourmet paradise, the Croatian region of Istria is famed for three home-grown gems: wine, olive oil and truffles. Long overshadowed in popularity by Alba truffles, for decades Istrian truffles were in fact sold as Alba truffles, surreptitiously making their way to neighbouring Italy. Following a flourishing start to this year’s white truffle season, the evening saw the auction of no less than four bundles of Istrian truffles, as well as an exclusive white truffle experience journey for two, and of course the largest truffle of the season, provided by Croatia’s largest truffle suppler; Zigante tartufi.
The 70 guests of Harry’s Bar dined on a four-course meal, each served with Istrian white truffle – under the expert direction of Harry’s Bar Luciano Porcu. Paired with the finest Istrian wines of Teran and Malvazija, guests were treated to a mix of hand-dived sea scallops, homemade tagliolini, pan-fried veal picatta and finishing with toasted panettone, chocolate sorbet and zabaglione.
Hailed by epicurean explorers as the ‘new Tuscany’, the mystical forests and ribbons of riverbed winding through Istria provide the ideal, mineral-rich soil in which truffles thrive. And while the black truffle can be found year-round, it is the region’s prized white truffle that prospers throughout the autumn and winter.
For gourmands there is yet another draw to the region, in addition to truffles, the region has been dubbed best in the world for olive oil production for four consecutive years in the prestigious Flos Olei Guide, and plays home to the Roman-era olive trees that still flourish on the mountainside.
For further information on Istria, please visit https://www.istra.hr/en