Alba White Truffle International Festival
Date: October 8 - November 13, 2011
Location: Alba, Italy
Categories: Food & Drink, Shopping
Tags: Auction, Farmers market, Specialty food
Alba is ready to host the new edition of the International White Truffle fair (from the 8th of October till the 13th of November). The famous event is on stage and this year the main theme will be “Pasta and white truffle, new links for gourmet”.
As usual there will be a lot of events, starting from the “foodies” (laboratories of gastronomy done in the full city center of Alba each Saturday) to a big food blogging gathering to discuss about cooking and communication with the new tools given by the web and the technology.
WHAT IS A TRUFFLE?
From the myth to our tables, an exciting smell.
In July, the sky over the Langhe and Roero is often dotted by clouds, not mentioning the frequent storms, remarkable temperature ranges between day and night, temperatures even below the average.
2003, the so-called annus horribilis, seems to have been definitely shelved. Production is expected to recover and prices to become more reasonable. It is difficult to make accurate predictions since we are dealing with a product which grows and matures about 10 inches underground, but betting on a 20-30 Euro truffle shaving is not a wild guess. More than good prices considering that emotions are the main stake. All the tests carried out on consumers showed that the attraction for The White truffle of Alba has no rivals. From the noble harmony of flavours, which go from the peculiar garlic to the more reassuring honey, to the spiced hints, and finally the simple taste of mushroom – they all captivate gourmets with suggestions which are being studied.
The ancients considered the truffle as the food of gods because of its aphrodisiac power which was properly used by the passionate Jove. The Roman recipe books suggested to cook the tubers (later classified as fungi) under the ash and to eat them paired with honey. In the middle Ages, truffles were regarded as strange creatures of nature, and people were afraid of their poisonous effects. The consecration of truffles just occurred over the last two centuries at the courts of the nobles, even though the humble cuisine has never been averse, for instance, to a truffle salad – the current price would make credit cards tremble!
And then, it was Giacomo Morra’s turn – the brilliant discoverer of the White Truffle as a proper brand for promoting “Alba” and its culinary tradition all over the world. His marketing strategy was well-structured: on the one hand, in the period of the Italian recovery after war, Alba was welcoming tourism; on the other hand, “Morra”-branded truffles set off for the tables of the mighty of the world, thus giving a great spur to the town. This initiative had a positive impact locally, too: in Alba and in the surrounding areas, several new jobs started, e.g. truffle hunters, traders, people specialized in truffle processing and preservation, as well as a new truffle-based cuisine. This is why we keep on eating fantastic truffles in the Langhe and Roero: people there have developed all the know-how for selecting, preserving and serving the thorough quality of the Tuber.
Actually, in 1996, the National Study Centre of Truffles was set up: a unique centre in the world for the research and spread of the truffle-related culture. They study the smells of truffle, look for new preservation techniques, collect enogastronomic experiences based on truffles, arrange tasting seminars. More than a hundred sensory analysis judges work on the market and in special certification commissions in order to assure the total quality of the product – the Alba White Truffle market is the only one to be guaranteed, with a careful evaluation of the health and variety of each specimen marketed.
Texts by the National Study Centre of Truffes