THE TRUFFLE IN THE KITCHEN
The truffle is the undisputed star of Alba’s cuisine, which is itself at its very best in autumn. Relatively simple, yet robust fare, conjuring up autumnal feelings and open fires.
A style of cooking with strong flavours and intense aromas, accompanied by thoroughbred wines.
From bagna caoda, which harks back in its ingredients - vegetables, garlic, oil and anchovies - to the area’s close links in olden times with Liguria by the sea, to fondue; from thinly-cut tajarin pasta to wild game; from vegetables to cheese; from boiled meats to mushrooms: a succession of unique flavours.
And first and foremost the truffle: the scent of a season.
In Alba it is served raw, thinly-sliced using a special tool. Though delicious on hot dishes and light sauces, perfect with fondue, tajarin and Piedmontese-style risotto, and superb on steak tartare and porcini or egg-cell mushroom salads, for the real gourmet there’s nothing better than truffle sliced raw onto fried egg.
Dishes that lead to endless discussions on the properties of the white truffle of Alba, with connoisseurs debating which is best: the smooth, symmetrical truffle from the sandy hills of the Roero, or the knobbly, knotty specimen that grows in the compact soil of the Langhe. Because food only becomes culture when you associate it with the history, geography and life of the area it comes from.
And here the cuisine engages and arouses the senses, even flirting with the truffle’s aphrodisiacal properties.
Properties which on these hills are a given: these “cite pugnà ‘d bej seugn” (handfuls of sweet dreams) may be eaten raw, but they exist to warm you up.