Truffle hunting season is under way in Italy and, if you’re a fan of this tasty delicacy, there’s one event you should head to this fall: the Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo Bianco d’Alba.
Italy’s most famous - and ancient - truffle festival, the International Alba White Truffle Fair takes place every year in Piedmont between early October and late November and is celebrating its 86th edition this year.
It’s a great chance to learn about and taste the Tuber magnatum, i.e. the white truffle mainly found in the Langhe and Montferrat areas of Piedmont, and, most famously, in the countryside around the cities of Alba and Asti. Costing between $6,000 to $10,000 per pound, the aromatic tartufi bianchi are among the most expensive foods in the world. White truffles cannot be cultivated; growing underground near the roots of oak trees, they are hunted by trained dogs and pigs.
Festival’s highlights include: the Alba White Truffle World Market, the world's largest exhibition of truffles from Piedmont ‘s hilly countryside of Langhe, Monferrato and Roero, where trifolao (local truffle hunters) display and sell thousands of freshly-picked truffles; and the Alba Truffle Show, a series of gourmet events, including guided tastings teaching how to choose, preserve and eat white truffles, cooking shows by local and international chefs, book presentations, and more.
This year, the Alba White Truffle Festival is sponsoring a crowdfunding campaign to raise 50,000 euros for the preservation of local truffle-hunting areas, which are increasingly losing ground to vineyards and hazelnut groves (Alba is the hometown of Nutella, the famous hazelnut and cocoa spread invented here in 1964).
The Fiera Internazionale Tartufo Bianco d’Alba begins on October 8 and continues until November 27. For more information, visit the festival’s website.
Want to know more about delicious Italian truffles? Check out our Foodie Guide.