Alba and the International Truffle Fair

Alba and the International Truffle Fair

28 November 2016

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Every year in November, Alba rhymes with truffle. The 86th appointment with the International White Truffle Fair of Alba will close on 27 November 2016, in an aromatic wake of re-enactments, artistic performances, wine tastings, sensory analyses, banquets and foodie moments. However, until 31 January 2017, every day of the week, when the weather permits, the truffle hunting season is open around Alba, the strongest emotion for a tuber enthusiast. The simulation involves a hunter (trifolao), accompanied by his dog (tabui) and a guide with expert knowledge about truffles, the natural environment and the territory, who lead the tourists through the woods to search for the precious underground fungus, guided only by the dog’s sense of smell and the intuition matured in years of experience.

Another fun way to enjoy the Fair, is to go to the Market, the largest exposition of truffles in the world, with truffles from the Piedmont hills of Langhe, Roero and Monferrato, and buy a piece, perhaps putting some funds together with friends. At the Alba White Truffle World Market, all Alba White Truffles weighing more than 10 grams are sold inside a numbered bag that serves as a guarantee and gives the right to an exchange if the truffle is unsatisfactory. In addition to truffles, the Market also offers thousands of typical products for tasting and sale: wines, distilled beverages, liqueurs, cheeses, salt-cured meats, fresh and dry pasta, bakery products, traditional sweets, chocolate, vegetables, IGP Piedmont hazelnuts and products made with them, IGP Cuneo chestnuts, special flours and mushrooms. A special area is reserved for dining and tasting the great wines of Langhe and Roero. Here you can taste the dishes prepared with the raw materials on sale at the stands – including truffles! The wines for tasting, served by sommeliers of the Italian sommelier association (AIS) are in the Grande Enoteca delle Langhe e del Roero, an area prepared to offer a taste of the extraordinary oenological heritage of the zone.

But exactly what is a truffle? An underground fungus, known since the time of the ancient Romans, with a generally spherical form that is somewhat flattened and irregular; it cannot be cultivated. The only one that can find them and dig them up is the trifulao, accompanied by his patiently trained truffle dog, along the paths and hunting grounds kept jealously secret. For the enthusiasts, on Sunday 15 January 2017 Canale d’Alba will hold the VII Regional meeting of truffle hunters and truffle dogs.

During the last century, the Tuber magnatum pico became known around the world and conquered the tables that make the news in the four corners of our planet. The tuber unleashes an intense and characteristic aroma and is much enjoyed in simple or refined preparations, such as raw meat minced with a knife, fried eggs, fresh pasta dressed simply with butter or fonduta (warm cheese sauce).

In Alba and its surroundings, the Truffle Fair is undoubtedly a tempting occasion to treat yourself to one of the extraordinary restaurants of Langa or nearby Roero that offer special tuber menus, such as the Michelin three-star Piazza Duomo, in the main square Piazza Risorgimento, or the pop version at La Piola, on the same square. In Treiso, not far from Alba, ‘La Ciau del Tronavento’, in Serralunga d’Alba the luxurious ‘Il Boscareto Resort’, on the other bank of the Tanaro the ‘Enoteca di Canale’ and many others.

There are many significant artistic and cultural events during the period of the Fair: ‘FuturBalla’, in honour of Giacomo Balla with works from prestigious public and private collections in Italy and abroad, open until 27 February 2017; ‘S’oggetto’, a show that focuses on fragments and materials that together with discards of industrial production acquire a new significance and re-invent daily objects, midway between art and design; ‘Regine e Re di cuochi’, an experience for all senses dedicated to the exclusive cuisine of Italy and its protagonists.

www.fieradeltartufo.org; www.piemonteitalia.eu