From late December to just before Christmas, the white truffle is king in Alba.
It commands the attention and money of locals and visitors, who hunger to buy or taste it. In the shops, it is displayed under glass and sold by the gram at about € 400-500,00 per one hundred grams.
To be honest, the truffles these days dont necessarily come from the local woods around the Ferrero Chocolate Factory, but more likely the unspoilt zones of the Monferrato area in the south-eastern part of Piedmont.
Yet Alba remains, as it always has, the key market for the commercialisation of the product.
These are the hills which produce the third great jewel of the local wine-making scenario, Barbera d'Asti, as well as other wines like Moscato d’Asti, Grignolino, Freisa, etc.
Here the tuba magnatum pico is searched for by a dedicated network of truffle hunters called trifulau who look for it with their trusted dogs.
Shaved fresh and without being cooked, it can enhance omelettes, fresh pasta or risotto.
Butter sauce and the richer Piedmontese equivalent to the Swiss fonduta benefit from the truffle too, not to mention the wonders of truffle oil, truffle butter, or even rice.