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Sep 12, 2010 03:57 AM

WHITE TRUFFLE FESTIVALS IN PIEDMONT 2010. More then Alba white truffles. ...

The Piedmontese white truffle, Tartufo Bianco d’Alba (tuber magnatum pico) is synonymous with Alba, thanks to the Alba Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo, first held in 1929, which put Piedmontese white truffles on the modern map for gourmets and connoisseurs of exotic delicacies.

Whereas white truffles can be found in other parts of Italy also Slovenia and Croatia, truffle experts consider the Piedmont truffles to be the finest in both the aroma and texture.

Piedmont’s prized white truffles come from not just the hills around Alba, but also a larger area of central Piedmont roughly enclosed by the Po River to the North and the Bormida & Tanaro Rivers to the south. This zone lies entirely in the Monferrato and Langhe hills, which are famous for Piedmont’s red wines and countless wonderful trattorie and osterie prized by food and wine lovers. The zone is bounded by the cities of Casale Monferrato, Chieri, Mondovi and Acqui Terme, with Alba and Asti in the centre.

Many visitors to Piedmont may not realize is that although the Alba Truffle Fair is the oldest and largest, there are around 40 smaller truffle festivals throughout the zone in the autumn months, many of them incorporating a local harvest festival. The atmosphere and pungency of truffles in these smaller festivals is a real local experience, and except for some of the larger and long-established ones, not touristy at all (and when I say tourists, I mean city-folks from Turin and Milan who head for the “zone” on weekends in droves). The small festivals feature prizes to the local trifalau (probably to encourage them to display their biggest and best truffles), giving you a chance to meet with these normally taciturn truffle hunters.

Its almost autumn in Piedmont and this year promises to be a good year for the prized “Tuber magnatum pico” as we have had a wet and cool August with a balmy September so far.

If you are coming to Piedmont in autumn, here is a list of 2010 Truffle festivals in the provinces of Asti (AT), Cuneo (CN), Alessandria (AL).

Festivals* starred are major Truffle Fairs (Fiere Nazionali) or Giornata del Tartufo, which indicate a big local festival day in which truffles are part of the whole event.

Oct 9 to Nov 14th, every weekend Alba* (CN) International Truffle Fair
Oct 3 Montigliole Monferrato (AT); Scurzolengo (AT); Odalengo Piccolo (AL
Oct 10 Montigliole Monferrato (AT); Bergamasco (AL); Castagnole Monferrato* (AT) Vendemmia del Nonno (AT)
Oct 17 Mombercelli (AT); Tagliole Monferrato* (AL) Sapori d’Autonno
Oct 24 Moncalvo* (AT) :
Oct 31 Moncalvo* (AT);Incisa Scapaccino (AT); Trisobbio (AL); Brignano Frascata (AL); Sardigliano (AL); Bene Vagienna (CN); Mondovi* – Peccati di Gola
Nov 7 Montechiaro* (AT); Nizza Monferrato* (AT) del Barbera & Cardo Gobbo; San Damiano d'Asti(AT); Cella Monte (AL); Avolasca (AL); Serralunga di Crea (AL)
Nov 13 Tortona (AL)
Nov 14 Canelli* (AT); Costigliole d'Asti (AT); Alessandria* (AL) Fiera di San Baudilino; Avolasca (AL);Paroldo* (CN) Fiera dell’Alta Langhe e del Cebano;Murisengo* (AL) Fiera Trifola d’Or.
Nov 21 Asti (AT) Cucina e Cantina*; San Sebastiano Curone* (AL); Murisengo* (AL) Fiera Trifola d’Or
Nov 27 Tortona (AL)
Nov 28 Castelnuovo Don Bosco (AT); Casale Monferrato* (AL) Fiera Crumini; Acqui Terme* (AL); Montegrosso d’Asti; Ottiglio (AL); Vezza d’Alba* (CN) Dei vini Roero; Villafranca d'Asti (AT)
Dec 5 Cortazzone (AT); Santo Stephano Belbo (CN).

Happy truffle hunting and buon appetito

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  1. Thank you for the write-up, Villasampaguita!

    We have been to Piemonte before and it is by far our favorite area for great food and wine.

    That said, we will be in Torino - and only Torino - in late October. Do you have any recommendations for reliable restaurants or markets in Torino to indulge in truffles?

    4 Replies
    1. re: r.vacapinta

      Gosh, I wouldn't know where to look in Torino for tartufi, most Taurinese head to our area for their white truffle fix.

      Try Eataly, next to Lingotto, I think they have truffles from time to time and most likely around the time of the Salone Del Gusto. Surely someone in the big daily market near Pzza Republica would have them, but I don't shop there. Any top notch restaurant should have tartufi, I am sure Torpedos at the Hotel Meridian would have as well as Guido at Eataly. I would also try Tre Galline in the old Roman town, but call in advance to see if they have truffles.

      1. re: Villasampaguita

        My wife and I will be in Alba starting Oct 9 and are interested in a truffle hunt. Can you recommend someone that does more than just the simulated tourist type?

        1. re: mroyer

          You should check with your lodging and ask them.

        2. re: Villasampaguita

          Thanks. We were in Torino this week and truffles weren´t that hard to find. There were certainly no neon signs saying Truffles Here! but if you are observant, they are everywhere.

          If you walk south on Corso Re Umberto, there are several farm-vegetable shops, many with discreet paper signs telling you they had truffles there. We decided to get our fix at a restaurant though...

          The restaurant La Capannina in Torino had two things going for it: 1) They have a sister restaurant in Alba 2) The restaurant specializes in mushrooms. Sure enough, mushrooms everywhere. About half the restaurant was getting generous truffle shavings even though they are off-menu. You just have to ask. The fungi misto platter that my wife got was also off-menu, for that matter. Its one of those places. Highly recommended!

      2. We will be in Asti/Alba region Sept 30 and Oct 1 & 2. Any suggestions for those dates?

        4 Replies
          1. re: Villasampaguita

            Both! We will be in Bologna for 3 days and Asti/Alba region for 3 days.

            1. re: graces228

              Lets see, actually not much that weekend, the two major September festivals in Asti province will over and this year they shifted the start of the Alba truffle fair to the second weekend in October. There are a few smaller festivals here and there, I would check with the place you are staying. If you can stay until Sunday, then the first of the October truffle festivals start if you read the list above.

              1. re: Villasampaguita

                Thanks, but our flight from Turin is on Saturday :-(
                We cant wait to eat and drink our way through the region!

        1. Monumental list! Any chance of an updated one for this October?

          Much much thanks in advance!

          1 Reply
          1. re: DistendedBelly

            Need to wait until either this years calender is published, or you can work it out by extrapolating which weekend it was in 2010 with the date in 2011, for example the first weekend of October, or the 3rd Sunday in November, as they always follow the same timetable. I will publish one later in the year.