Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec presents 'Côte de bœuf Aubrac 60 jours de maturation - 1.3 kg'. Estimate 50 - 80 euros.
Regular readers will be familiar with our previews of classic car and motorcycle auctions held by Artcurial – but this month, the Paris-based house is 'catering' for a slightly different clientele, with a 140-lot sale dedicated to gastronomy.
Happening at the Hotel Marcel Dassault at the top of the Champs-Elysées, the event promises to be a foodie heaven with an array of delights up for grabs that have been consigned by some of the most accomplished artisan caterers and food wholesalers in all of France, ranging from master butter-maker Jean-Yves Bordier to top 'chocolatier' Francois Pralus.
Aimed at people who take their grub seriously, the menu is replete with the finest cured hams, trugs of Perigord truffles (1,000 - 1,500 euros), bunches of Tahitian vanilla (apparently the best you can get) and some of the rarest teas from China – including a 30kg bundle of 1970 vintage Fu Zhuan leaves that could set you back as much as 80,000 euros. Sugar with that, vicar?
'Maison des 3 Thes, Thé Fu Zhuan début 1970 emballé dans une peau de yack cousue'. Estimate: 60,000 - 80,000 euros
But if Beluga caviar's your bag, how about a 500g tin for 9,000 euros, accompanied by a nice bottle of 1990 Champagne Salon at 1,200 - 2,200 euros? Or, for those with simpler tastes, 20 tins of 'high end' sardines in chilli oil, or perhaps a metre-long saucisson in a glass-topped container and accompanied by a pair of razor-sharp chef's knives honed to perfection by legendary cutler Emmanuel Chavassieux?
Vintage cake enthusiasts could, meanwhile, bid for a 1922 edition of 'La Patisserie d'Aujourd'hui' by leading 19th Century chef Urbain-Dubois, and those who want to learn the tricks of the trade are offered a three-day catering course at the Alain Ducasse cookery school for an estimated 500 – 700 euros.
'Alain Ducasse, Dîner pour 2 en cuisine au restaurant Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée'. Estimate: 1,000 - 1,700 euros
And if you prove to be a model pupil, you might wish you had spent 25,000 euros on the La Cornue 'Grande Commanderie' kitchen range which boasts six gas rings, two griddles and four electric ovens…
…although that might be a little extreme for creating my signature dish of Campbell's condensed tomato soup with a light sprinkling of cheese.
Artcurial's 'Fine Food' auction takes place on Monday, 19 December at the Hotel Marcel Dassault, 7 Rond-Point des Champs-Elysées. Viewing Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 11am - 7pm. See artcurial.com.