BLACK TRUFFLE AUCTION HELD IN BEIJING
Truffle auctions occurred in the 1940s and 1950s in Alba, Italy and were later held by Sotheby’s and Christie’s as well. Despite vibrant truffle business in China in recent years, a truffle auction has never been held in China in a real sense until August, 2018.
In the middle of August 2018, Hua Lifu, China’s most authoritative truffle specialist and head of the Yunnan Branch of the Wild Mushroom Association, and Zhang Xiaohan, an auctioneer with international prestige, held an auction banquet dinner at Feast, Beijing’s first Czech restaurant. Toplevel truffles were auctioned.
Hua Lifuha travelled around the world looking for black truffles. He mentioned that black truffles require very specific conditions to grow and thrive in. Many factors affect their quality such as the ph value of the soil, the temperature and precipitation. The exceptionally good natural conditions in southwest France are perfect for growing black truffles. It does not follow, however, that high- quality black truffles can only grow in France. Today, Hua Lifu is the only Chinese citizen who has mastered special technologies and techniques related to truffle planting, picking, screening, quality inspection, application and deep processing.
The auction featured the winter black truffle ( Tuber Melanosporum Vitt). This is the most precious kind of black truffle among the dozens of varieties in the world. It has a complex fragrance. Romance authors and other people believed that this type of fragrance can stir desire in humans. An anecdote stating that Napoleon could not give birth to a son until he ate this truffle spread far and wide. The price of truffles sky rocketed, and truffles became a kind of mysterious food, affordable only by princes, dukes and aristocrats. At this auction, a piece of black truffle weighing 337 gram was auctioned at a price of 8,000 yuan, and another piece weighing 389 gram was auctioned at a price of 10,000 yuan.