When the outlines of the hills are hard to make out through the autumn mists, and the cold grows increasingly bitter, men and their dogs take under cover of darkness to the crags and slopes, ravines and gorges of the Langhe and Roero.
This is the hunt for the White Truffle of Alba, when the trifolau set out between September and October on what is almost a pilgrimage, unleashing their dogs along routes jealously guarded in their memories taking in poplar, linden, oak and willow trees. An enthralling contest that will be the subject of stories in the local inns and markets throughout the winter months.
And so it has always been in the world of the truffle, with its atmospheres and legends that feed the imagination, making this one of the most characteristic features of the local culture.
Alba’s white truffle also makes an important contribution to the local economy though, and has long had a significant bearing on the incomes of many families in the countryside.
So much so that in 1741 it was called a "fruit provided by Divine Providence".
Then again, combined with the farsighted intuition of celebrated “pioneers” of the trade in truffles and the local entrepreneurial skills, the unique, universally recognized qualities of the Tuber Magnatum Pico have made Alba the undisputed world capital of the truffle, and a mecca for foodies the world over.
Which has clearly had a very positive effect on the profile of the area and its products.
So all-in-all, the truffle represents the most appealing and exclusive means for promoting the image of Alba and its surrounding area. A tried-and-tested vehicle used by a wide variety of businesses to put wineries, craft enterprises or industrial undertakings on the map without fear of being upstaged.
And as such the truffle should be supported in the economic battles that are increasingly fought in the field of image and ideas.