The ultimate feast
By CNN's Chris Dwyer
Signor Toscana serves up the world's most expensive truffle.
HONG KONG (CNN) -- The world's most expensive meal.
Not an idle boast but the reality behind a stunning five-course dinner, using more than a kilogram of the world's most expensive foodstuff, that was held in Hong Kong's Toscana restaurant.
Sixty guests representing the cream of wealthy Hong Kong society had paid thousands of euros per head at the fundraiser in aid of the Mother's Choice charity, supporting young disadvantaged mothers.
I was the truly lucky one who garnered the ultimate meal ticket through a very, very generous friend.
The 1 kilogram fungus in question had made headlines of its own recently when it was sold to a mystery buyer for a staggering world record price of 95,000 euros, leaving superchef Marco Pierre White amongst others to look on enviously.
It was then flown from Italy to Hong Kong, accompanied by a minder, where it was immediately placed in the fridge of Umberto Bombana's restaurant in the Ritz Carlton hotel, imparting its unique and flavor to the kitchen's butter and cheese.
After the tragic demise of the previous most expensive truffle bought by a consortium including Roman Abramovich and Gwyneth Paltrow, (it went off when left in a safe), no chances were being taken.
Few chefs were as qualified to cook the stellar ingredient as Signor Toscana from Bergamo in northern Italy, 200 kilometers or so from where the monster truffle was unearthed in the grounds of the Castello di Grinzane Cavour in Alba.
"The white truffle is unique in the gourmet world,'' said Bombana. "The garlicky flavor is a wonderful dish enhancement.''
The award winning chef de cuisine has cooked in some of the world's great restaurants but to prepare "The Mozart of Mushrooms," as Rossini once called it, was the ultimate challenge requiring the ultimate menu.
And he more than rose to the task. First came the sublime "Scallop and Chanterelle Mushrooom on Autumn Salad" with the White Truffles from Alba more than liberally shaved.
Next, an unspeakably fine "Ravioli stuffed with Mascarpone Cheese and Polenta," with more copious shavings.
As the food arrived silence descended among the great and the good in the room as the heady, distinctive aroma filled nostrils and met palates.
An extraordinary taste, unlike any other, of musky, smoky richness, vaguely redolent of garlic. If Tolkien's Middle Earth were to be served as a dish, then this was it.
"Lobster in Savoy Cabbage and Anchovy, Porcini Mushroom Emulsion" came next accompanied by, unsurprisingly, the white truffles.
Naturally each and every course was complemented by a different wine, in this instance the Bionzo Barbera D'Asti Superiore La Spinnetta, 2003.
The Wagyu Beef Tenderloin, Marsala Truffle and Foie Gras sauce with whipped potato with truffle took things to new heights of gastronomic indulgence and excellence. For good measure, more white truffle from Alba accompanied.
And, as if the hedonistic crescendo had not been reached, the fifth and final course appeared in the form of "Whisky Chestnut Mille Feuille, White Truffle Ice Cream and Almond Nougat." And extra shaved white truffle.
The normally shy Signor Toscana came out to take a bow in front of his adoring, replete public. And 60 very privileged diners saluted him.
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