A journey through the flavor and history of truffles

por The Winners
Laura Salles, Founder of Plurie br and Specialist in Diversity and Inclusion at Cornell University

UNESCO has recently listed the “truffle hunting and extraction” in Italy as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, this activity is a set of knowledge
and practices that “has been transmitted orally for centuries”. This activity portraits the Italian rural life and reveals small villages which are on international spotlight.

Going to the cradle of truffles has always been my dream and desire. The truffle itself, on less elaborate dishes, already appeals to me and getting to know the hunting process and how it is served by the most traditional restaurants where
it is known was an unforgettable experience. Both the black and the white truffles are largely found in Italy, in the Piedmont region. The black truffle is more easily found, including in the hot weather; whereas the white one is found in a more specific period, from October to December, which is fall in the north hemisphere. In this period, the Piedmont region lives off the truffle hunting and marketing with restaurants all over the world. In Alba, the capital city of this region, the International Alba White Truffle Fair is held for the commercialization of truffles, where it is found all imaginable sizes and condiments made with this delicacy. This Fair takes place in the heart of Alba’s historical center, the Alba White Truffle World Market, the ideal place to appreciate and buy truffles from the Langhe, Monferrato and Roero woods. In order to enjoy the activities and the folklore related to such tradition, inside the Truffle Market, you will find the Alba Truffle Show, where there is Cooking Show area with great chefs; the Truffle Sensory Analysis, the Wine Tasting Experience, twinned with territories of food and wine excellence and “taste weddings” among the hills of Langhe, Monferrato and Roero along with guests, events and debates. A beautiful place, where families and tourists get together.

Truffle sensory analysis
Me and my mother, Adriana Salles, in the truffle hunt

If you go to Alba at this time of year, besides the fair, which is a must, the restaurants have special menus with white truffles; the best-known dishes in the region are fried eggs with truffles and butter tagliatelle with truffles, simple dishes
that allow the flavor and smell of the truffle to take center stage. Unusual dinners called “Le Cene Insolite” are also offered, being unique events in which products of excellent known throughout world, and the best chefs in both national and international scenarios meet for the preparation of such international cuisine delicacy.

The famous “Le Cene Insolite”, gala dinners for tourists

On top of that, it is possible to experience the truffle hunting with dogs and guides who accompany this adventure. I followed Bill (the canine truffle hunter) and I was impressed by his accuracy, he went straight to the places where
there were truffles to dig them up. After the tour, there is a tasting of the truffles which were hunted, accompanied by cheese and wine from the region. This was undoubtedly one of the most special tours I’ve ever taken and I recommend it
to anyone who has the opportunity to visit this magical and tasty region.

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