Jewels Before the Feast

Jonathan Bruckner, Bill and Jill Wachter

Jonathan Bruckner, and Bill and Jill Wachter

PALM BEACH, Fla. – They sipped Krug champagne, dined on white truffles and ogled Tiffany jewels. But the big-deal meal – at the Palm Beach Wine Auction, where gourmet dishes prepared by renowned chefs will be paired with rare and vintage wines from around the world – has yet to be served. That’s next.

Meantime, guests gathered at Tiffany & Co. for the “White Truffle Dinner,” a thank-you to sponsors of the auction, which benefits the education programs of the Kravis Center.

Cindy and Ted Mandes

Cindy and Ted Mandes

Amid pink peonies, Tiffany’s signature teal and silver holiday decorations and a showcase of jewels, guests sipped champagne and enjoyed caviar on petite cracker spoons and Thai-shrimp stuffed “cigars” with ginger lemongrass sauce.

After hors d’oeuvres, guests moved upstairs, where dinner featured wines from Spring Mountain, Edge Hill and Oremus.

“’Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ may be a movie, but dinner at Tiffany’s is much better,” auction Chair Ted Mandes quipped, as he thanked Tiffany host Jeff Sabean, the auction’s co-chairs, sponsors and supporters. He also welcomed host vintner Kenneth “Scotty” Barbour, director of international and domestic sales for Spring Mountain Vineyard.

Barbour announced that one of this year’s lots at the upcoming auction will include a complete Magnum vertical collection, 2000-2012, of its signature Cabernet-based wine, Elivette, as well as 2003-2005 Elivette, 3L, which Mandes was able to secure from Spring Mountain owner, Jacob E. Safra.

Rod and Madeline Fink

Rod and Madeline Fink

“I don’t know how he did it – no one else in the world will ever have access to this,” said Barbour with a chuckle and nod to Mandes. “It’s never been done before.”

Barbour also shared that one auction bidder will win a private tour of Spring Mountain, including a four-wheel-drive trip up the winery’s steep terraced vineyards to experience views of the valley.

The dinner’s first course included a demitasse of cauliflower soup with white truffle shavings and poached lobster medallions over butternut squash and corn salad with white truffle vinaigrette, paired with the 2010 Edge Hill Winery Bacigalupi Chardonnay.

The entrée featured truffled brisket of veal served over a truffled celeriac puree finished with shaved white truffles. The veal was paired with side-by-side glasses of 2004 and 2007 Spring Mountain Elivette. For dessert it was apple confit with fromage blanc parfait, cider gelée, and a gala apple and golden raisin tart, served with Oremus Tokaji, Late Harvest 2010.

Following the dinner, held on Dec. 10, 2014, each guest took home a woven crystal vase, courtesy of Tiffany.

Amos and Maria Dare

Amos and Maria Dare

The eighth-annual Palm Beach Wine Auction will be held on Jan. 29, 2015, at the Mar-a-Lago Club. Guests will have the opportunity to bid on rare vintages while sampling dishes prepared by a diverse team of chefs, including Zach Bell, of Addison Reserve Country Club, Delray Beach; Bogdan Boerean and Graham Randall, of the Mar-a-Lago Club; Philip Bollhoefer, of OMNI Asheville/Grove Park Inn; Joshua Hasho, of OMNI Denver/Interlocken Resort & Spa; Douglas Katz, of Fire Food and Drink, The Katz Club Diner and Provenance at Cleveland Museum of Art; Trevor Kunk, of PRESS, Napa Valley; and Joe Mercuri and Athiraj Phrasavath, of Mercuri, Montreal and Cameron Pishnery, Fire Food and Drink and The Katz Club Diner.

Co-chairs of the event are Madeline and Roderic Fink and Carolyn and Richard Sloane. Committee members are Ed Dudnyk, Barbara Golden, Steven M. Gottlieb, John H. Kessler, Stacey Levy, Shelley Menin, Patrick M. Park, I. Jeffrey Pheterson, Martin Rivard, Jeffrey Sabean, Lewis M. Schott, Laurie S. Silvers, Daniel J. “Rusty” Staub, Michael Troise and Jill Wachter.

Since its inception, the auction has raised more than $2 million for the education programs at the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.

For more information on the auction, call 561-651-4320 or visit

Photos by Corby Kaye’s Studio Palm Beach.


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