Gastronomes from all over Europe are descending on the Piedmontese town of Alba to visit the White Truffle Fair that begins on 6 October.
It is the 82nd edition of the popular fair dedicated to the ‘Tuber magnatum pico’, better known as the Alba White Truffle. Famed for its heady, intense aroma, and extraordinarily rich scent, it is the most highly-prized of fungi and regarded as a delicacy.
Alba is known for its truffles, trifolao (truffle hunters), truffle traders, specialists in truffle processing and preservation, as well as its truffle-based cuisine. Since 1996 the town has been home to the Centro Nazionale Studi Tartufo (National Study Centre of Truffles), which disseminates information related to truffle-related culture. A research centre, it studies the smells of truffle, looks for new preservation techniques and arranges tasting seminars.
A myriad of events constitute the fair that celebrate the art, traditions and enogastronomic heritage of the area, including a cinema festival, beauty contest, Barbera and Barbaresco wine tastings, food-related events, art shows and music. Experts are on hand to explain how to choose and keep truffles, there are organised walks through the town centre and hills of Terre Alte to taste Barolo wine, a flag- throwing display, and the Truffle Bacchanal, in which the town stages a mediaeval pageant by torchlight, and a cast of 1,000 dressed in period costume roam the streets and play music. The fair culminates with the world-famous truffle auction, and a competition for the best and biggest truffle.
The White Truffle Fair runs until 18 November.