For the Piemontese, nothing epitomizes autumn like a certain, annual, international fair that has been held for over 80 years in Alba: the White Truffle Festival, or Fiera del Tartufo Bianco. Tens of thousands of food lovers from around the world come to this town in the heart of the Langhe to pay tribute to that elusive underground mushroom, the Tuber magnatum.
Tasting a tartufo bianco for the first time elicits strong emotions and sometimes an utter lack of words, as its aroma and flavor are like nothing else. In a land where the cuisine and wine are fit for kings, this noble fungus is found in its best form. The grand festival dedicated to this expensive delicacy (the second most expensive food in the world after edible gold leaf) maintains a perfect balance between serious quality and entertainment. At the World Truffle Market, the prime attraction of this festa, expert truffle tasters monitor the sale and safekeeping of the treasures; and radiating out from the focus are days full of events, from wine tastings to Medieval parades and truffle hunting with canine friends.
The White Truffle Fair activities last from October 10-November 15, most during the weekends. We’ve highlighted the biggest below, but don’t miss out on the full program on the Truffle Fair’s main website at www.fieradeltartufo.org. It’s in English, well-organized, and has tons of beautiful pictures.
Every Saturday & Sunday, October 10-November 15
Alba White Truffle Market
This is the fashion show for food: the Truffle Market is the raison d'être of the fair. If you're looking to experience the Tuber magnatum, here is where you can smell the heady aroma and purchase this gem of the Langhe and the Roero in its best form. Experts certify these truffles: each and every one is checked for defects and analyzed for quality before entering the market for sale. While the prices may be higher here than in Alba's specialty shops during these months, you are assured of buying an unblemished, top-quality, perfect specimen. Within the large space hosting the Truffle Market are also the stands of the AlbaQualità food and wine exhibition, where you can taste wines from the Langhe and Roero, cheeses, egg pastas, cured meats and all the other food products that have brought international fame to this area.
Saturday and Sunday: 9:00 am - 8:00 pm
Entry: €3 | children 15 and under: free
For more information, contact:
National Truffle Study Center
Alba, Piazza Risorgimento, 2
Monday - Friday: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm | 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Foodies Moments + Foodies Moments Tradizione
Foodies Moments present recipes that showcase local specialties, explaining their origins and how to prepare them. The shows come with a plate of the dish prepared. Every Saturday and Sunday, top chefs will roll up their sleeves to show you culinary delights of the area, paired with a fine wine from the Langhe or Roero: fresh egg pasta, Piemontese meat, traditional salted fish, a variety of the region’s cheeses, rice, desserts, and more. And this year, Foodies Moments Tradizione adds a touch of local know-how to the program. Several restaurants from the area who are part of the Truffle Club and serve truffle dishes in their restaurants will be sharing their secrets with the audience.
Cortile della Maddalena at 11:00 am
Wine Tasting Experience
The Truffle Fair has many opportunities for wine tasting: for example, the aptly named Wine Tasting Experience takes place every Saturday in English at 5:30 pm and Sundays at 3:30 pm in Italian. Expect to taste some of the Langhe and the Roero's most treasured wines.
Each event lasts 1 hour. By reservation only. €23 per person
Truffle sensory analysis
Imagine a new color. Impossible? That's the aroma of a truffle: its intoxicating scent is unlike anything else. Or perhaps you're not new to the alluring tuber, but you have yet to purchase your own. Learn how to choose a high quality truffle, how to store them, and how to best prepare and enjoy them with an expert in Sensory Analysis from OIAT (International Truffle Tasters Association).
To make a reservation and find out times, contact:
National Truffle Study Centre
+39 0173 22 81 90
→ Read all about the truffle and Fair here: The White Gold of Piemonte
Truffles for Children
Kids can enjoy truffles, too! This year, the Truffle Fair has put together a program of activities that make quality food and the discovery of taste fun. Truffle hunting dogs, of course, will be the focus of one area; there will also be games that teach kids about the territory and its products; a workshop area to create nature souvenirs, and squares in every town in the Langhe and Roero with activities. In addition, every Sunday at 4 pm is “Put Your Hands in the Dough:” the little, aspiring chefs will learn about the seasonality of the land’s natural products, food traceability, and simple rules for a healthy diet. Learning the traditions of Italian food has never been so fun!
Exhibitions and Conventions Centre "G.Morra"
Activities for children 0 - 12 years old
Opening times: On Saturdays and Sundays 11 am-6 pm
For schools during the week, upon reservation
Simulated Truffle Hunt (also continues after the fair)
Beginning before and lasting long after the White Truffle Fair is done, the Truffle Hunt lets participants experience an authentic sport of the Langhe and Roero. A trifolao, or truffle hunter, will lead eager tourists through the forest, guided only by his faithful dog’s trained nose and an intuition developed over years of experience. Hunts are held every day of the week, weather permitting.
For information and booking:
National Truffle Study Centre
Piazza Risorgimento, 2
tel. +39 0173 22 81 90
Oct.17-18: Truffle Baccanal and Mediaeval Fair
If you must choose just one weekend to visit the Truffle Fair, consider coming Sat. 17 and Sun. 18. Steeped in tradition is one of the fair's most popular festivals, an historical reenactment and food & wine festival in one. It begins Saturday night, with the streets and shops decked out in medieval decoration in anticipation for Sunday. Lots of wine and good cheer are passed around. Here’s a tourist tip: Saturday is frequented mostly by locals and is calmer than Sunday. On Sunday, Italian and international tourists alike arrive en masse to see the entire city of Alba pulled back centuries in time to the Medieval Ages. Costumed and bedecked in Middle Age finery, market stalls sell food and artisan items and all the stores are open from 10:00 to 8:00 in the evening.
Historical center - Sat. 18, begins at 7:00 pm
Historical center - Sun. 19, 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
November 1: Ecomarathon
Are your ready to run off all that food and wine? 2015 marks the 6th edition of the Ecomarathon, a course that spans from Alba to Barbaresco, Neve, and Treiso. The rolling hills of vineyards changing colors in the autumn are so beautiful you just might forget you have 42 or 21 km to run (depending on the course you choose). If you want to enjoy the stunning landscape without exerting too much effort, take the 10 km walk through the territory.
Begins at 9:00 | Departure from Alba – Piazza Duomo and Pizza Rossetti
For information on sign-ups, maps, and more: www.triangolosport.it
November 20-22: Poetica, a poetry festival
If any food could be spoken of poetically, it’s the truffle. How else can one describe its ineffable aroma and one-of-a-kind flavor? This year is Poetica’s first edition (under the artistic direction of architect Alessandra Morra and the poet and writer Roberta Castoldi). Throughout the historical city center of Alba during the weekends, notable guests will present their art.
Along the streets of city center | See the program here (most, though not all, are held during the afternoon and evening)
You've come to the right place if you want to experience the best of the Langhe and Roero (and some may say of all Piemonte), gastronomically speaking. Pair the beguiling scent of truffle with a swirling glass of vintage Barolo and experience food-wine transcendentalism. And this year during the White Truffle Fair, gastronomy takes center-stage. Beyond Foodies Moments appointments, there are cooking shows with international and Italian guests, pasta debates, cookbook presentations, encounters with the territory’s most famous delicacies, and more – all with samplings and tastings, of course. Behold:
“Taste and Scent Gathering” in Piazza Risorgimento from 10:00 am-6:00 pm:
Oct. 31-Nov. 1: The Piemonte Hazelnut IGP and Moscato d’Asti DOCG
Nov. 7-8: Chocolate and Grappa
Nov. 14-15: Piedmont’s PDO Cheeses and the Madernassa pear of Guarene and the Roero
Other festivals, markets, and tastings:
Oct. 11 at 10 am-8 pm | City center: Albaromatica spice and herb market
Oct. 16, 23, and 30 at 5-8 pm | City center: Open Alba Food & Wine
Oct. 31-Nov.1 at 10 am-7 pm | City center: Langhe and Roero in the Piazza with La Granda
Oct. 24 at 7 pm-Oct. 25 all day | Piazza Risorgimento: Festival of Carne Cruda and Langa Bread
With the risk of listing every single event (because they are all worth seeing!), our list ends here. But don’t forget to check out the official website at www.fieradeltartufo.org for more events with wine, food, truffles, music, art, and culture to make your stay, even if for a single day, as memorable as the lingering scent of a truffle.
Looking to stay in or near Alba?
The hotels in Alba will be booked quickly (if they're not already!), so read our Itineraries and Focus articles in the Langhe and the Roero for Wine Pass recommendations in nearby towns to find a place to stay.