The white truffles of Alba

The small town of Alba, located in the Piemonte region of northern Italy, is home to the Slow Food Movement, and it has to be said that marrying food and wine is one of the most popular pursuits in the town.

Alba is also a culinary epicentre because it is said to be the only place in the world where white truffles are found, which is celebrated each year by the Alba International Truffle Festival.

The white truffle is one the rarest, most expensive and certainly most highly prized cooking ingredients in the world. White truffles have a rather earthy that delicately pungent. While world-renowned chefs use truffles in many different ways, from using shavings to top off a risotto, or for making truffle ice cream, it is generally agreed that Alba is the best place in the world to get white truffles.

The Alba International Truffle Festival has an 80-year pedigree, usually runs for a month between early October and early November, during the peak of harvest season. Each day of the festival, local truffle hunters set up rows of stands to show off their truffles. This event is known as the World Truffle Market, and you can buy this previous fungi at quite good prices.

One of the attractions offered at the festival is an opportunity to join a truffle hunt. During these tours you are taken to a truffle hunter’s secret location but, sadly, you don’t get to keep the spoils of the hunt.  During the weeklong festival, the town also hosts a large number of events that are not directly related to truffles. There is a famous donkey race,  and locals wear traditional costumes and there is much music music. Naturally there are food and wine tastings, as well as many other activities to help keep you occupied between bouts of devouring the delicious truffles.

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