Italy is synonymous with great food and wine so it’s not surprising that there are dozens of local festivals celebrating both, especially in the fall, the traditional season for celebrating the harvest. From truffles to chocolate, nougat to rice Italy’s rich culinary traditions provide a feast for the traveler.
The truffle is a fungi that grows underground beneath oak or hazelnut trees. Difficult to find, truffle hunters use dogs and pigs that have been especially trained to search for the tubers at the roots of these trees. Although some truffles can be cultivated that is not the case for the white truffle and, unlike the more common black truffle, the white truffle cannot be frozen so its shelf life is incredibly short – around ten days. Its price is also considerably higher. In a 2014 article on truffles in the Atlantic magazine, Ryan Jacobs writes that “in 2010 Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho spent $330,000 on two pieces [of white truffle] that weighed 2.87 pounds.”
You can taste this extravagant delicacy when you attend the white truffle market where vendors sell everything from the truffle itself to products involving the truffle such as olive oils and pastas. Restaurants focusing on the “tartufo bianco d’Alba,” wine tasting events, cooking classes and special dinners with top chefs are just some of the events accompanying the fair.
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