5 Things to Know about Truffles before the Alba White Truffle Fair
- Written by Valerie Quintanilla
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A $2,000 mushroom?
Doesn’t two thousand dollars seem like a lot to pay for a mushroom? This rare, luxury commodity is the most profitable legal crop you can collect and comes exclusively from the area of Langhe, Roero and Monferrato (but also also in the Apennine Mountains of Tuscany and Umbria), regions famous for luxury wines.
5 things you must know about truffles before the Fiera del Tartufo (the White Truffle Fair)
1. Truffles are actually a rare mushroom that grows on the roots of trees, about four inches under the ground. White truffles grow symbiotically with hazelnut trees, which Piemonte is also known for, but can also be found on oak, poplar and beech tree roots.
2. Truffles were originally “hunted” by pigs but now it is more common for dogs to be trained for the job.
3. Once found, weighed, and sold, Piemonte’s white truffles are featured in many dishes throughout the season and are best paired with an aged Barolo or a Barbaresco to compliment their musky and earthy flavor.
4. White truffles are generally served raw (and sparingly!) over buttered pastas, vegetables, and even egg or meat dishes. Sometimes specialty cheeses contain truffles as well.
5. If you can afford the white truffle, treat yourself to a nice Barolo or Barbaresco to pair with the dish – dine like royalty and sip the “king of wines” (as Barolo is often described) perhaps a variety with smooth tannins like those from Serralunga d’Alba or Castiglione Falletto. The dryness of nebbiolo in a Barolo or Barbaresco works with the richness of something like a white truffle risotto (incorporating decadent cheese etc.) Barbaresco also pairs well, often offering earthy spices to pair with the elegant truffle
When is the Truffle Fair?
Prime season for Alba’s white truffles is September through December, and the Fair is October through November. Read our Mini-Guide to the White Truffle Fair to know when the best events are!