Cook Italian - Italian Experience
Category 
Italian Experience
October, 2011
Posted by 
Paolo Bertazzoni

Truffle fair

If you are ready to be overwhelmed by intoxicating aromas and your pockets are deep enough, you have to go to Alba, in the Italian region of Piemonte, where the Truffle World Market is held, every year in October.

The most precious of truffles, the white type, is an underground mushroom, growing at the roots of poplar, birch, hazelnut, oak trees. Alba is the area where the White Truffle spontaneously grows.
This tuber, defined as the diamond of the kitchen, is literally hunted for by highly specialized individuals (Trifulau) with their specifically trained dogs. Before dawn the Trifulau leaves with is dog to his secret places, making sure nobody is following.

The season this year was very dry and the harvest quite scarce, sending the price to frightening levels of 30 Euros a gram, equivalent to 120 US Dollars an Ounce!
Sales were scarce as a matter of fact, visitors from all over the world were passing by and pondering rather than buying.
A favorite way to savor truffle is to slice it over butter tagliolini. The intense aroma is carried by the humid warmth of the pasta directly to the receptors of your nose.
I would say this is an ancestral feeling, probably explaining the irrational price and success of White Truffle.