The masses have descended upon my new city for fungus. Oh yes, the famous Alba White Truffles are here. On Saturdays and Sundays from October 12 to November 17 Alba, Italy hosts an international audience with Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo Bianco d’Alba – The Alba International White Truffle Fair.
>> Alba White Truffles
Known as the fruit of a subterranean fungus, white truffles are considered a buried woodland treasure. In Piedmont they are found in the countryside around Asti and Alba, fruiting in autumn.
Pungent aromas and strong earthly tastes waft from the intoxicating white truffle. They are shaved atop pasta, eggs, risottos, burgers, pizza, and more (they taste particularly yum over cheesey dishes). Eat white truffles raw as heat affects quality and flavor; this differs from its black truffle relative, which can be consumed raw or cooked.
>> Money Money Money Money – MONEY
White Truffles reach up to $3,600 a pound. To-date the most expensive white truffle was sold at an auction for $330,000 weighing 2 lbs.
The annual International Alba White Truffle Fair packs the region with buyers and curiosity seekers – in fact, it’s the largest white truffle market in the world.
All Truffles, All the Time
All of Alba gets into the act with outside markets, wine tastings, exhibitions, cookery workshops, truffle tasting menus, and more. Below is a look at some of the activities organized by The Alba International White Truffle Fair.
The Truffle Market:
Admission: 2 euros (1.50 euros for groups of 30+) Find a sea of vendors peddling truffle-related goods from the fabled tartufi (bianco e nero) to truffle oil, salumi, formaggi, and more. No truffle left behind Before the market opens every truffle is inspected and approved for sale by a commission of experts who remain on hand to act as a consumer information service. Find them in the market pavilions. Come for the truffles, stay for the wine The Truffle Market also features the AlbaQualita Food and Wine show, featuring wines and artisan delicacies from the Langhe and Roero.
The Hall of Taste
The Hall of Taste features cooking workshops, wine tasting experiences, and sensory truffle analysis.
Wine Tasting Experience Winemakers and sommeliers take tasters through a variety of local wines, identifying different characteristics, styles, tastes and more. Organized by Strada del Barolo and Grand vini di Langa in association with Consorzio di Tutela Barolo Barbaresco.
- Cost: 20 euros
Every Saturday and Sunday: 4 to 5 p.m. (Saturdays in English, Sundays in Italian)
Reservations only. Contact tasting@stradadelbarolo or +39 0173 22 09 43.
Foodie Moments Chefs and Regional Enoteca representatives teach participants about premium local products. Each Saturday a local cookery theme is paired to a Langhe or Roero wine. Themes: egg pastas, Piemontese meat, traditional salted fish, the PDO cheese of Piedmont, dolci. Reservations only. Contact Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo Bianco d’Alba, firstname.lastname@example.org or +39 0173 36 10 51.
Sensory Analysis of the Truffle
Truffle learnings: How to select, how to appreciate, and how to store. Led by a Sensory Analysis expert from the International Truffle Tasters Association (OIAT), participants learn from sensory and smell tests. Il Ragazzo and I attended this over the weekend. Read up on the adventure for insight into the smells. Reservation only. Contact the Association Centro Nazionale Studi Tartufo, email@example.com or +39 0173 22 81 90.
Who needs to see Alba White Truffles?
Most of the local restaurants offer full truffle menus and a handful are even doing “Dinner in the Dark”;
Dinner in the Dark
Eat dinner completely in the dark to “…rediscover the other senses.” Cost: 45 euros/person
Antico Caffe Calissano, October 23 – 8 p.m. Reservations: +39 0173 36 13 94
Ristorante Enoclub, November 6 – 8 p.m. Reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org or +39 0173 33 993
Check out the Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo Bianco d’Alba website for more information and background on all the tartufi happenings. Happy hunting! V-Dawg OUT. How do you describe the taste of white (and black!) truffles? I can’t seem to get more than earthly and pungent from my brain. Help me get a list of descriptors going!
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