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Alba, home of the truffle, precious treasure

Alba, home of the truffle, the most precious treasure in the world

Alba, the town of Tartufo, in the Piedmontese Langhe. As we can easily imagine, it is not just truffles. Many natural and historical beauties meet in its territory and form the perfect place to go in search of something precious.

Immersed in the picturesque frame of the Langhe, on the right of the Tanaro river, we find Alba, a little jewel from Northern Italy that we all know as the town of white truffle. Set in an enchanting area that in 2014 was added among UNESCO world heritage sites, Alba rises in a plain area and is surrounded by fields filled with vineyards.

The name of the town of Alba has been associated for centuries to white truffle and to the yearly truffle fair, outshining very often the rest of the beauties that the historical heritage of this town has to offer to its visitors. Let us find out then the history of the exquisite white truffle and carry on for a virtual visit to the town of Alba, to add to your travel bucket list. 

Cosa vedere ad Alba: storia e natura nel cuore del Piemonte
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The white truffle of Alba

The enveloping scent typical of fall of white truffle is something that, at least once in a lifetime, everyone has smelled going inside a restaurant or wine bar. But what is truffle? And, most of all, why is the white one so refined? Truffle is a type of fungus of the Tuber family that grows underground. Alba’s truffle has a globular shape and a yellow-y or ochre color, which has earned it the name of white truffle. 

The search for white truffle is carried out by experienced researchers together with the best truffle dogs that sniff out truffle and manage to find it. Its being so valuable is not a difficult thing to understand as you can’t grow it, because it grows spontaneously out of sight, underground. That is why it is more and more hard to find and most of all it requires a lot of time and effort.

 Some years are better than others, some dogs are more trained than others, and so on with a list of variables that makes us understand why white truffle is considered to be so precious. Suffice it to say that this year, at the XXI edition of the Global Auction of Alba’s white truffle, an entrepreneur from Hong Kong won a 800g truffle for the sum of 103,000 euro! 

Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo Bianco di Alba - What to See in the Langhe
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The International Fair of Alba’s White Truffle 

From 1929, Alba host every year the International Fair of Alba’s White Truffle, a global event entirely dedicated to truffle, where every aspect of this particular fungus is dealt with and tasted. Among the main settings for the fair there are the Truffle Market, where you can buy it and the Truffle show, featuring show cooking, sensory analyses, moments of tasting and matching the truffle with the local wine excellences with the experts sommelier. 

Guida alla Fiera del Tartufo Bianco d'Alba 2021 tra sostenibilità, eventi e  prodotti tipici - InformaCibo
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Not only truffle: the historical beauties of Alba 

Given its position inside the territory of the Langhe, the town of Alba is marked by centuries of history attested to by the wonderful architectonic marvels that you can still see. We are talking about monuments such as the Cathedral of St Lawrence, dating back to the 1500 and among the most important buildings in town, the Church of the Magdalene from XVIII century, decorated with the baroque style, the Church of St Domenico, which the story goes was used by Napoleon as stable for his horses.

But there is more, like many other medieval town, Alba too has the nickname of “the town of the hundred towers” due to the high number of towers present in the town centre and in the surroundings. The legend goes that many of them were built for defense purposes, since the town was often looted. Currently, the best preserved towers are three and date back to the 12 century: Tower Bonino, Tower Astesiano and Tower Sineo

Another thing to take into account as you visit the town of Alba is its underground section that can be visited with an expert and skilled archaeologist. Underground Alba hides many secrets and beauties, evidence of ages long gone, all together in one setting that – a bit like truffle – needs to be looked for and found, as it is very well hidden. 

Alba: cosa vedere e fare in 1 giorno nelle Langhe | LE COSMOPOLITE
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Cover Image: affaritaliani

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