Alba is the undisputed capital of the white truffle.
Since 1929 the Truffle Fair has given this fungus worldwide renown and prestige, promoting the image of the whole area and its finest products.
Important truffle markets and festivals are also held in Ceva, Dogliani, Vezza, Canale and Montà d'Alba, and everywhere the markets are associated with the most “historic” locations in the centre of town, such as "Via Maestra" in Alba, and under the porticos in Canale.
The market itself is a mysterious affair: when it opens, the “trifolau” - or truffle-hunters - remain calm, hiding the fruit of their search in the big pockets in their fustian jackets.
They talk of dogs and rain, of seasons and harvests, waiting for the market to get going and the buyers to grow impatient. Then they slowly begin to cautiously bring out small packages wrapped in check handkerchiefs: starting with the smallest, and reserving the very best for the most patient of connoisseurs, more like jewellery merchants than peddlers of truffles.
Because it is when the aroma of truffle becomes intoxicating that the trifulau shrewdly makes his best deals.
Then, with their business done, they hurry back to the hills to wait for night to fall, eager to return to the rocks and ravines to follow their life’s dream; a truffle like none other ever seen before.