According to the regional law, the Alba White Truffle of Piedmont will make its entry into restaurants, markets and shops until 31st January 2020.
The “search” experience is undoubtedly the most exciting for truffle lovers.
In order to find a truffle, the truffle hunter or trifolao must take advantage of the invaluable collaboration of a dog with excellent sniffing skills, trained to detect the aroma of this fungus, and of his intuition gained over years of experience.
The truffle, after being detected by the dog, is extracted from the soil by the hunter. This is an operation where the trifolao uses a particular hoe, and which needs to be carried out with utmost delicacy. The operation ends only when the excavated soil is compacted again and it allows the extraction of the Tuber Magnatum Pico.
It is essential that all connoisseurs are well informed about the truffle harvesting calendar of each region, and that, according to the provisions set at regional level, they purchase the product or consume it at the restaurant only when authorized.
The Centro Nazionale Studi Tartufo and Unione delle Associazioni Trifolao Piemontesi explain how essential a period of “rest” is to avoid excessive exploitation of the environment during a key moment for the fruiting body maturation: “To love and fully enjoy the truffle also means to respect its seasonality and allow the environment to balance the right times between activity and rest”, says Antonio Degiacomi, President of Centro Nazionale Studi Tartufo (the National Truffle Study Centre).
The “biological rest period”, which orders a rest period for the collection of all truffle species from 1st to 20th September, is an integral part of the life path of this fungus and, therefore, it is necessary and very important.
It is a gesture of civilization and respect for the truffle environment which allows us to fully enjoy this great asset in the right period!
The Alba White Truffle has a round shape, but it is also flat and irregular, with a pale yellow peridium or even ochre.
Its inside, crossed by numerous and very ramified white veinings, shows different shades of colour: from milk to deep pink to brownish. Sizes are variable. It’s being hunted from late summer, throughout the autumn, until the beginning of winter. It’s a spontaneous fungus: at present, there are no cultivation techniques.
The environment and truffle hunting
A truffle-hunter along with his dog goes into the woods searching for this valuable hypogeum fungus, guided only by the animal’s nose and by the insightfulness gained through years of experience. This is the most exciting moment for a truffle lover.
The white truffle of Alba grows spontaneously, in symbiosis with specific trees or shrubs. These areas are characterized by an extremely delicate environmental balance, which need a special attention and agronomical care.
The quality commission
The International Alba White Truffle Fair applies a strict control protocol for the fresh product on sale.
Every year the Municipality of Alba appoints a committee of experts, drawing up a regulation to standardize the truffle sale.
All truffle sellers attending the fair (trifulau or traders) must comply with that regulation.
Furthermore, at the world truffle market, a panel with most experienced sensory analysis judges will be available during opening times.