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ALBA (INDOOR) TARTUFO MARKET 2006

 

The exact dates of the market in future years can be found on their web site.  The "Formal Market" is only open at weekends, but really the only day to go is Sunday, because that's when hundreds of street vendors join in and foodie fun and the the odd band and medieval pageant kick in.  If you are coming by car arrive early as several thousand Italians pour into town each Sunday, hell bent on food and family fun.  If you want a Saturday night hotel room then book at least a year ahead!

 

 

Links to all Paradoxplace Truffle Festival pages

Photos from Alba in 2007

Alba's Indoor Truffle Market (this page)

Alba's outdoor Sunday street food festival (2006) .....

 

Tartufo Festival 1       Tartufo Festival 2       Tartufo Festival 3

Other foodie pages from Piemonte in October 2006

The Dom returns to Alba in November 2006 to buy a Tartufo Bianco for England

 

 

The Tartufo Bianco di Alba is regarded as the finest in Italy / Europe.  For six weekends in October and early November tartufo hunters / merchants come and sell their products at Alba's Tartufo Market.  There are lots of other foodie stalls in the enclosed market area as well.  On the Sundays of these weekends everything spills out onto the streets and piazzas which are packed with every type of food stall imaginable plus of course a few thousand Italians.  On the first Sunday, to get things going, there is a Donkey Palio.

 

LINK TO ALBA TRUFFLE FAIR WEBSITE

 

The first thing to do when you go into the enclosed market area is to head for the other end of the building and have brunch - a white truffle shaved over a couple of fried eggs, accompanied by a glass of Brunello - Italy's premier red wine. 

 

Double joy - egg itself (not a feature of Italian hotel breakfasts), and egg with tartufo.  Apart from egg (normally fried, but it's good scrambled as well), the other carriers used for tartufo bianco are pasta (the local one is called tajarin, and it works well with a good ravioli as well), and, less attractively, minced raw veal patties. 

 

Ever resourceful, our man recently tried a FOURTH WAY - the big White T shaved onto Calves Brains from the Florence meat markets and sautéed in unsalted butter, but the flavour of the brains is too strong to make it work well.  

 

P.S   Unlike their inferior black cousins, White Truffles are never cooked because when they are they lose it (their aroma and flavour).

 

 

The Saturday crowd "in the shed" is not your real Italian foodie mob - that's on Sunday when the food stalls spill out all over town as well.  Today there are a fair number of Swiss German speaking visitors.  Serious well heeled mature  people from the country that invented the cuckoo clock.  To reassure them about order and honesty in the land of truffles, the stand you can see in the centre is the "Truffle Quality Commission" who will look serious and check your truffle for weight and quality before and / or after purchase. 

 

 

Research fabricated by Paradox's friend J.N.E.Webber indicates that the average €100 domestic tartufo bianco has 5.6 canine and human nasal experiences before being shaved, unwashed and uncooked, onto your egg or pasta.  "Unusually, the number of nasal experiences is greater for the higher quality outlets (with more demanding customers)" says Webber.

 

Dealer nose with cushioning.

 

These are the three biggies of today's market - weighing in at 320, 687 and 290 gms respectively (left to right).  White truffle quality, in common with so many other things in life,  deteriorates with increasing size, so tartufo grosso non e tartufo miglior (as they say). 

 

In 2006, smaller truffles cost €4.50 a gram (half the price of a year previously), so a 100 gm tuber would set you back €450.00 .  For the first timer, a 30 gm truffle is a good size to provide shavings for half a dozen meals, with something to spare for the breakfast fried eggs - and you may be able to get a free truffle slicer thrown in (even if you can't it's essential to get one). 

 

In 2006 restaurants charged €20 to €30 to shave (part of) a white truffle over your pasta, egg or raw veal mince, though by 2007 they were producing an electronic weighing machine beforehand to give you an exact price quote (probably a new EU truffle regulation!).

 

 

The much less sought after Black Truffle.  Cheaper, more widely available for more of the year, and you can cook with them.  But don't expect anywhere near the same effect if you shave it over your pasta or egg, and don't hold your breath for its magic aroma.

 

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Links to

All Piemonte Pages

Tartufo Festival 1

Tartufo Festival 2

Tartufo Festival 3

Tartufo Bianco Official Market (this page)

Alba in November

 

Alba Tartufo Festival 2007

 

Paradoxplace Truffle Festival Pages

 

For other Paradoxplace links visit the home page

 

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All original material © Adrian Fletcher 2000-2014 - The contents may not be hotlinked, or reproduced without permission.