White Alba Truffle: the value in quality and exception
Undoubtedly Piedmont's most renowned and sought-after gastronomic excellence, and one of the most expensive foods on the entire planet. In recent, complicated years, its price has risen further and is around 5500 euros per kg.
The white truffle of Alba is certainly not a product to be eaten every day, it is that 'luxury' reserved for the exception. But what if a large part of its success is precisely due to this characteristic?
The trifolau ('truffle hunters' in Piedmontese dialect), contrary to what it may seem, are not the only protagonists of the truffle harvest. They share their task with their trusty truffle dogs.
The animals most adept at sniffing out and consequently finding truffles are wild boars and pigs. For a long time, some trifolau went into the woods with a pig in search of truffles. Today, this practice has been made illegal and the only animal that can accompany man in such work is the dog.
There are certain breeds that are more predisposed to this task, the most famous of which is undoubtedly the Lagotto Romagnolo. A fundamental part, however, is careful training.
The training techniques of a truffle dog are special and must be followed meticulously from an early age. Once these have been completed, the actual search can begin.
From a very interesting collection, based on the dog-owner relationship, to the table, where the
the total expression of the product, which invades the senses from nose to palate.
Traditionally, white truffle dishes include raw meat all'albese, tajarin and eggs all'occhio di bue. In various restaurants and trattorias in our Piedmont, at the right time of year, these dishes are offered. The truffle is presented at the table and, afterwards, grated with the special tool, into very fine flakes of a very intense, heady aroma and unmistakable flavour.
In more modern kitchens, however, chefs have the ability to make the most of such a precious ingredient, even in particular and unconventional dishes. We can
find cases of white truffle-fish combinations; but also desserts, such as white chocolate soufflé with grated white truffle.
The truffle is, by definition, the fruiting body of a mushroom. In other words, it is the same definition as a porcini mushroom. The differences lie in the species and the fact that, as we all know, truffles develop underground.
At this point, we have the necessary knowledge to justify the price. A combination of characteristics that makes truffle hunting a very complicated practice and the result of experience and local knowledge.
In Piedmont, there are several truffle fairs in autumn, mainly in the provinces of Asti and Cuneo. The largest and most important is in Alba.
Next weekend, 3 and 4 December, will mark the end of the 'International Fair of the White Truffle of Alba', one of the most famous fairs in Italy, which attracts tourists from all over the
Once again this year, events, markets and workshops have been held for almost two months in the cradle of the area's food and wine excellence.
Going back to the introduction, can we define occasionality as the key to the success of the white truffle of Alba?
No, or rather, partially.
Claiming that the truffle is appreciated only because it is eaten infrequently would be a crime, because it would disrespect those who make a living from it and, in general, would discredit a product of very high quality.
Having said that, however, the high price limits its accessibility and, at the end of the day, we can only call it an added value for the product.
Waiting increases the desire and the truffle is made to wait. Some people can afford it often, others almost never. We are however faced with the product of occasionality par excellence.
Desire calls him, he sometimes responds. And those are the times when we can fully appreciate one of the world's most renowned products, once again proud of our land.