Truffle Festival...what should we expect?
We've got a reservation for 5 nights in Barolo where we spent a day in July. It was an easy and inexpensive reservation (Brezza vineyard and hotel)
We'll rent a car and drive to the Truffle Festival each day, I suppose, but don't know much else about what to expect from the area or the festival at that time.
We'll be there Oct 31-Nov 4.
Get the Slow Food guide to Italy and Max Plotkin's guide to eating in Italy. Both proved immensely useful in finding restaurants, bakeries, salumi places, etc. in that area. We just returned from a stay in Montelupo Albese, which is about 20 km away from Barolo. A really, really wonderful part of the world. In fact, we enjoyed a very nice bottle of barolo on the patio at Brezza one afternoon... very nice memories.
In Alba, I recommend the hazelnut cake at Berta's bakery. If you walk up and down Via Vittorio Emmanuale, you'll find a dozen spectacular places to buy pasta, baked goods, truffles, cheese, salumi, etc.
Um...to get drunk by noon. The truffle festival is a fun event but I would devote a day or two to Alba at the most and explore more of the the Langhe. Alba is fairly small. We spent a weekend at the truffle festival last year and felt that was plenty of time. The festival itself is a wonderland of cheese, meat, wine, sweets and truffles. There's lots of samples to be had of everything and the food that they serve in the festival area itself is decent enough to eat if you can't get lunch at one of the packed out places. For instance I was skeptical of paying 25 euro for truffles and eggs at the fair but I saw two other places charging 30 euro for smaller portions. Be sure to buy the 5 euro (last year's price) degustation ticket because not only do you get the official wine tasting (about five bottles) that changes daily (maybe you'll luck out and get Barolo) but you also have an easier way to sample the wines of the various producers who are exhibiting their wares. Do yourself a favor and book any restaurants you want to try now. Have fun...