At this time of year in our part of Piedmont the grape harvest is almost over and thoughts start to turn to finding or trying to find the elusive White Truffle! The White Truffle is one of the most expensive and mysterious foods in the world. They are found mainly in the Langhe and Monferrato areas of the Piedmont region in northern Italy and most famously, in the countryside around the cities of Alba and Asti.
They are actually an underground fungus and are only found under and around just a few tree species including Oak, Hazel and Poplar and fruiting mainly in autumn. They can reach 12 cm (5 in) diameter and up to 400g in weight, though are usually much smaller. The flesh is pale cream or brown with white marbling producing an aroma and flavour that is gastronomically unique and intoxicating, they are also said to have aphrodisiac qualities!
The size, flavour and aroma of a truffle depends on various factors such as moisture, weather, species and age of the tree, soil type, proximity to the roots and tree trunk, and insect traffic. They are almost never cooked but are usually consumed fresh, typically by being shaved into paper-thin slices over fresh pasta, risotto or even fried eggs!
Truffles are found by Trifulau (truffle hunter) and their dog. The dogs are specially trained to search among the trees for these underground delicacies.
During October and November, The town of Alba hosts the International White Truffle Fair. There are a huge range of events and exhibitions during this time dedicated to the White Truffle.
If you would like to come truffle hunting with us in the Piemontese woodland or need more info on the Alba Truffle Fair please contact us for more details – firstname.lastname@example.org