The white truffle, the “diamond of Alba”
The white truffle, Tuber Magnatum Pico
If someone asks you tonight: “Do you know tuber magnatum pico?”, your reply might not be immediate… You will have a better idea if you visit Alba. Especially in November… As you would probably know for sure the one called “white truffle”: it is actually the same thing: this is the most valuable type, both from a gastronomic and a purely economic point of view.
Rossini called it “the Mozart of fungi”; Lord Byron kept one on his desk because the perfume helped his inspiration; Alexandre Dumas called it “the Sancta Santorum of the table”. In 1780, the first book about the white truffle of Alba was published in Milan; it was then baptized with the name of “Tuber magnatum pico” (Pico refers to Vittorio Pico, the first scholar who studied its classification).
Special in shape, often irregular, this “diamond” has a pale ochre outer layer (the peridium). The flesh (gleba) is run through by many veins, and varies in colour (white, milk, brown, dark pink). This fungus varies in size and is mainly collected in autumn. From the middle of September to the end of December, the truffle hunters from Alba scour the secret walkways among the hills of the Langhe area. The white truffle is at its best from mi-October onwards.
Piedmont, Alba, Cuneo Province
Surely among the most popular ones is the white truffle of Alba, which is located in the Cuneo province in Piedmont region.
The white truffle hunt takes place at night, because the hounds are less disturbed; it also helps the truffle hunters to be hidden from curious eyes!
Dogs are specially trained to find truffles (after an extensive 3 month special training). Thanks to their nose, they are able to track down the precious fungus.
White truffles only grow wild, and no cultivation techniques have been developed so far.
During your tour in Piedmont, don’t only focus on truffle! You can also enjoy the typical flavors from the areas of Langhe and Roero: from home-made pastry to cheese and cured meats. Don’t forget the fine wines of this extraordinary land: Barbaresco, Gaia, Barolo, Arneis, Moscato: all find wines that have made the Langhe area so famous at international level.
Modern art and art fairs also take place in Torino at this time of the year. We will gladly arrange some private encounters with art collectors for you, private visits of galleries, after opening hours, or private meeting with curators.
So many reasons to consult us for a private visit of this fascinating area of Piedmont region.
Like a Chef!
Storage: in the fridge, wrapped in a paper towel and stored in a sealed glass container. It can be kept for one week maximum. It must always keep a “hard” consistence.
Cleaning: with a brush under cold water, then dried and consumed after a few minutes.
Serving: use a special truffle slicer to shave the truffle into very thin slices. The finer the blade is the more intense the fragrance.
Freezing (Shhh… secret! only valid for black truffles, as white truffles would be too delicate for this): put some truffle shavings in each section of your ice cube container, cover them with extra virgin olive oil and freeze. You will then get single portions of truffles to cook with any time you like! They will be perfect to add to fresh homemade pasta!