There was no record and the Italian chef paid 3,500 euros for a superb 750-gram piece.
Like every year, the charity auction of black truffles from Soria was one of the most exciting, fun and enjoyable events at Reale Seguros Madrid Fusión (RSMF). And like almost every year, the king of this truffle festival was chef Andrea Tumbarello, who once again took the most appetizing piece without having to dig as deep as in previous editions. He paid 4.6 euros per gram, a more than affordable price.
Weighing 450 and 750 grams respectively, the two superb examples of Tuber Melanosporum went to Lucía Fernández, from Bodegas Alejandro Fernández, in Peñafiel (Valladolid), who paid 3,200 euros for the smaller piece, and to Andrea Tumbarello, from the Don Giovanni restaurant in Madrid, who took the larger piece for ‘only’ 3,500 euros and with not much competition.
There were no records and the price was much lower than last year, when Tumbarello himself paid as much as 5,100 euros for the large truffle. The two amounted to 6,700 euros this year, less than the 9,100 euros raised in 2019 but considerably more than the 4,100 euros in 2018. The 750-gram piece had a starting price of 1,000 euros and it was not long before it had risen to the closing price, when Tumbarello made an offer that no one dared improve on. More hotly contested was the 450-gram piece, which went from 600 euros at the start to 3,200, making it more expensive than its big sister. The price per gram of the larger piece was 4.6 euros, while the smaller piece was 7.1 euros per gram.
“They were two of the best truffles that we were able to find in Spain, and even more so with such large specimens with an optimum ripening point”, said Juan Carlos Benito, chef and the usual master of ceremonies at the auction. “Having specimens like these is an exclusive opportunity”, he added about the two truffles, which were harvested last Thursday and Friday, just three days before the auction. “They are truffles that will be on all the news reports, so they are worth much more than they cost”, Benito pointed out. Tumbarello and Fernández received their truffles from the President of Soria Provincial Council, Benito Serrano.
The two specimens auctioned off were once again provided by the Soria Truffle Growers Association and the Soria Forestry Association (Asfoso). The auction is sponsored by Soria Provincial Council and its proceeds go to the Luis Guanella Foundation, which uses the funds obtained to help women at risk of social exclusion find work.
In 2019, two specimens of 450 and 250 grams were auctioned. The bidding by those attending was perhaps more enthusiastic and 5,100 euros was the winning bid by Andrea Tumbarello for the larger piece, at 11 euros per gram. The Italian chef knows full well that Soria is “the temple of the truffle” which is why he bids at the auction every year, with the added pride of contributing to a good cause. This time, Tumbarello did not find the same stiff competition as he did the previous year, when the Riojan chefs who formed a lobby to buy the 250 gram truffle for 4,000 euros: Francis Paniego (Echaurren), Fernando Saénz (Heladería Della Sera), Lorenzo Cañas (La Merced), Ignacio Echapresto (Venta Moncalvillo), Iñaki Murúa and Carolina Sánchez (Ícaro) paid 16 euros a gram.