It’s a jewel but it’s not made of gold. It has an unmistakable aroma, so intense you can recognize it from a distance. And it always changes. You either love it or you hate it. It’s either black or white. There is no middle ground. The bigger it is, the higher its value, which grows more than proportionately to its dimensions. “The mushroom” par excellence, our country’s hidden treasure and still not cultivatable today, which is why it is so rare. It’s so precious it has its own exchange rate at the Borsino del Tartufo.
If there is one reason to love autumn, this is mine: the International Alba White Truffle Fair, at the 87th edition this year, open from October 7th to November 26th. I impatiently wait this time of year to take a “break” from Milanese life and have already let my belt loosen up by a few notches in anticipation. Let’s go.
A few hours drive from Milan, my friends, and you will be captivated by this fascinating country so silent yet full of surprises. Let’s start with the colors: orange, brown and green, so bright they open your eyes, your mind, your heart and without a doubt your appetite. We’re in Piedmont, in the langhe, an internationally recognized territory for its many fruits: the Alba’s truffle, tuber par excellence, in all its varieties, the wine, the gastronomic products (have you ever tried the “plin” ravioli, the Fassona meat or the Controlled designation of origin [DOP] cheeses?) The hospitality, the culture, the open-air activities and the list goes on.
There is something profoundly fascinating about this land, at times nostalgic and melancholy, but always mysterious and indisputably irresistible. I have always been attracted to the contrast between its apparent severity and the opulence of its fruits, so incredibly warm and merry. It’s nice to go as a couple, alone or in a group of friends with the certainty of a weekend with a high alcoholic index. It’s nice to go back every year, or several times a year over the weekend, because, and I can assure you of this, the experience is never the same twice and the possible itineraries are definitely more than can be contained on the same map.
Stay calm, there’s no need to hustle, running from one area to the other, from one town to the next, from one pub to the other. Stop time, put the clock back an hour and relax; choose two or three events you really want to take part in, choose the winery and improvise. Definitely make reservations for your winery visit and for the restaurants, that are packed on weekends. Are you surprised? There’s something for everyone.
My favorite part? Entering the fair and stopping at each and every stand, speaking with every producer and listening to their stories, that are full of passion, to then choose my personal winner. That is where I will buy my truffle, full of the right aroma, from the winner. The one I will eat with buttered tajarin on a Monday night, once we are back, to relive the memories of another unforgettable weekend.
Download the program and don’t over-think it, you still have a month to go.