white truffles 1254

Alba’s White Truffle Fair

It’s that time of the year in Piemonte when the king of truffles, the white truffle is celebrated.

The season starts in October and celebrations take place over Piemonte where the white truffle or trifola d’ Alba Madonna is found. The most famous celebration is Alba’s White Truffle Fair which started on October 10th and continues to November 15.

Alba's White Truffle Fair

The elusive and expensive white truffle

The fair takes place in the Cortile della Maddalena just off Alba’s main street, Via Vittorio Emanuele II .

Alba's White Truffle Fair

As you enter the market, the perfume of truffles fills the air. It’s intoxicating. Truffle sellers take centre stage with their stalls in the centre of the hall. Here you can see, touch, smell truffles of all shapes and sizes. Chat to the truffle sellers…most are truffle hunters (trifolao) and characters to boot! This is your chance to learn about truffles.

Alba's White Truffle Fair

 

What is a truffle

Truffles are the fruiting bodies (sporocaps) of funghi. They are spherical in shape with a pale yellow outer layer the an inner layer of flesh that varies in colour from white to pink and brown. Black truffles are found from May to February while the important white truffle is hunted in Piemonte from Sept 21st to the end of January.

They must live in a symbiotic relationship with trees or bushes for the sporocaps to be produced. Oak forests in the area are a perfect place to find truffles .
Truffle dogs sniff out the truffles and the trifolao or truffle hunter will then carefully dig around the truffle and remove it from the ground.

Alba's White Truffle Fair

Different sizes and shapes of white trufles

 

Alba's White Truffle Fair

 

The white truffle is expensive, far more more expensive than the black. They are sold by weight. On restaurant menus in Piemonte truffles will be an additional supplement. You will be told the price and the truffle weighed before and after being shaved.

Alba's White Truffle Fair

Gourmet  produce

Surrounding the truffle stands, are a multitude of stands promoting the fabulous food and wine of the area.

Piedmont’s artisanal producers are well known. This is the home of the slow food movement that promotes locally grown and produced food.  Producers offer cheese, pasta, cured meats, hazelnuts, torrone and of the course the famous wines of the Langhe and Roero.

Alba's White Truffle Fair

Taste the local cheeses including cheese from Castelmango

Alba's White Truffle Fair

Alba's White Truffle Fair

Porcini season in Piemonte

 

Alba's White Truffle Fair

Piemonte is known for its fabulous wines

 

During fair time there’s also cooking demonstrations with some of the regions best chefs, wine tasting experiences and truffle workshops where you can learn all about the truffle. There’s also cooking classes for kids.

The local market takes place every Saturday and during the fair, there’s a special event held in the town every Sunday. The weekend we were there they were setting up for a medieval fair on the Sunday

Alba's White Truffle Fair

 

 

Helpful hints:
The truffle fair takes place every weekend until November 15 from 9am – 8pm.
The entrance fee is 3Euro.

Fair days are busy so it is advisable to arrive early especially for ease of parking. .

Half a day at the fair is all that is needed unless you’d like to join some of the events. We arrived early and had finished seeing everything in time to go to lunch.

If you go at the start of the fair, in October, you may also catch the end of the grape harvest with the leaves of the vines starting to show their autumn colours. It’s busy tourist wise and the well known restaurants should be booked in advance. By November, it’s colder and tourist numbers have decreased but there are more truffles.

For more information about the truffle fair see www.fieradeltartufo.org

 

Other posts on Piemonte that you may enjoy:
Monforte d’Alba: 5 reasons to love this Italian town
Imagine Living in Monforte d’ Alba
Acqui Terme: Piedmont’s Spa Town
My Favourite Restaurant in Piemonte -Alle’Enoteca

 

 

 

 

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23 Responses to Alba’s White Truffle Fair

  1. Anita October 12, 2015 at 1:47 pm #

    Alba is on my (expanding) bucket list, and this makes me even more eager to visit during harvest/truffle season. Would love to be there for truffles + grapes + cooking. Thanks for the White Truffle Fair info!

  2. Michele Peterson October 12, 2015 at 5:31 pm #

    It sounds well worth trying to time a visit to Alba to enjoy this fun food fair. And I can just imagine the heavenly fragrance of all those truffles. The 3 euro admission is really a bargain too!

    • Jenny Freedman October 24, 2015 at 10:20 pm #

      It’s definitely well worth visiting Alba for the truffle fair Michele. It also means you can eat truffles with every meal!

  3. N J Magas October 12, 2015 at 7:27 pm #

    I’m most interested in the cheeses, honestly. Cheese is the great love of my life. 😛

    • Jenny Freedman October 13, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

      There was a fabulous selection of cheese at the Truffle fair Nicky. Every two years there is a cheese fair in Bra which we went to one year. You would love it…the next one is in mid September 2017. Plenty of time to plan a visit!

  4. Irene S. Levine October 12, 2015 at 9:21 pm #

    Italy in truffle season is my idea of heaven! We’ve been to Alba during the fair and it was intoxicating!

    • Jenny Freedman October 13, 2015 at 12:48 pm #

      It’s the very best time to visit Italy isn’t it Irene. We couldn’t resist buying a truffle at the fair. The hotel made scrambled eggs for us and shaved our truffle over it!

  5. karen escalera October 12, 2015 at 11:55 pm #

    I’ve always wanted to go to a truffle fair but the timing was never right. Would you know of any in any part of the world that takes place in summer?

    • Jenny Freedman October 13, 2015 at 12:45 pm #

      You might have to come to Australia Karen. We have a black truffle fair in Manjimup in June and there’s also a black truffle fair in Launceston in Hobart in July. I’ve also read about a summer truffle fair in Acqualunga in Le Marche in August. If it’s white truffles you’re after, you’ll have to head to Piemonte after mid October. It’s well worth the trip as the area is fabulous

  6. The GypsyNesters October 13, 2015 at 9:58 am #

    Just give me anything with truffles. Even cardboard will taste good. I think I’ve even tried that.

    • Jenny Freedman October 13, 2015 at 12:55 pm #

      Love it! A girl after my own heart! I probably look like a truffle when I leave Piemonte after a week or longer there. I make sure I have that glorious shaved tuber at every meal!

  7. Betsy Wuebker | PassingThru October 13, 2015 at 1:07 pm #

    In Istria this summer, we first tasted heaven in the form of white truffles. They are about a hundred times more flavorful than the “regular” truffles, aren’t they? We brought them out of Croatia in honey, tapenade, and cheese spreads for our Fiji friends to feast upon. Would love to visit Alba’s white truffle fair!

    • Jenny Freedman October 24, 2015 at 10:18 pm #

      Personally I think the Alba truffles are the best in the world so I hope you get there one day. Yes Betsy, they are far more flavourable than the black truffles. I hope your Fijian friends enjoyed them.

  8. Paula McInerney October 13, 2015 at 1:42 pm #

    I could do a truffle fair. I could do a truffle fair in Italy very easily. I have tried white trufffles once, and they were rather pleasant 🙂

    • Jenny Freedman October 24, 2015 at 10:14 pm #

      Any excuse to go back to Italy Paula? The truffle fairs are fun…eating truffles is even better!

  9. Joy @MyTravelingJoys October 14, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

    This is my idea of foodie heaven! In fact, I had truffled risotto for lunch yesterday here in Warsaw at one of my fave places. 🙂 Someday we’ll get back to Italy!

    • Jenny Freedman October 24, 2015 at 9:15 pm #

      It is foodie heaven Joy! You’ll have to time your visit for fall so you can eat truffles all day!

  10. Sand In My Suitcase October 15, 2015 at 1:25 am #

    Mmmmm… Truffles. We had truffles flavouring some of our sauces on our cruise that we just did with Ponant (a French cruise line known for its gastronomy).

    • Jenny Freedman October 24, 2015 at 9:09 pm #

      They are superb aren’t they. I remember seeing one of the new Ponant ships in a port we were at and it looked fabulous. Great that they are into their food as well!

  11. Carole Terwilliger Meyers October 16, 2015 at 5:13 am #

    Thanks for taking me along to Alba for the truffle fair. I’ve been there in the heat of summer, when my husband mistakenly ordered hot lemonade, but the White Truffle Fair has my heart.

    • Jenny Freedman October 24, 2015 at 9:07 pm #

      Piemonte is fabulous at any time of the year but I hope you get to visit in fall. It’s porcini season as well so there’s a couple of reasons to go at this time!

  12. budget jan October 25, 2015 at 4:00 am #

    I can tell you are wishing you were there right now Jenny. You don’t have surprise trip up your sleeve do you? How exciting that you actually purchased your own white truffle!

    • Jenny Freedman October 25, 2015 at 8:34 pm #

      You know me too well Jan! The only trip I have this year is to Brisbane and Melbourne! Alas no truffles! The hotel was fabulous making scrambled eggs for us to have with the truffle on our last day! Great memories!

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