Truffle stronghold in Piedmont - Fly with BLISSAIR to northern Italy
They're not particularly beautiful, the grayish knobs that people make so much about here. In Alba's delicatessen stores, they are lovingly bedded in baskets, in the restaurant they are brought up on the serving trolley before the head waiter grabs the rasp and refines carpaccio, risotto or pasta according to local customs; with thin slices of the white truffle, around which shops, culinary passions and entire folk festivals in Alba are entwined. Because it doesn't matter whether it's beautiful or not. The luxury tuber always tastes delicious.
Because they cannot be bred, but have to be searched for with sniffer dogs around Alba, the prices of the rare white truffles are astronomical. On average, the kilo costs between 4,000 and 5,000 euros - with restaurateurs needing such amounts at most. The visitor is all too easily drawn into the vortex of this obsession, and it takes discipline to devote oneself to more than just culinary delights in Alba. But the city of 31,000 inhabitants, 50 kilometers south of Turin, in the center of Piedmont, has other attractions.
The 15th century cathedral, the early Gothic church of San Domenico and the modern Chiesa della Trasfigurazione testify to the spirituality and aesthetic openness of the residents. The old town is characterized by picturesque alleys, lively market activity on Saturdays and the so-called gender towers - fortress-like buildings that rich families afforded in the Middle Ages. When the towers were built, public life was already subject to clear rules: in the 14th century, rubbish was only allowed to be thrown out of the windows at set times and passers-by were not allowed to tear caps off their heads.
Perhaps it's because of the landscape, which with a constant view of vineyards sharpens the eye for culinary enjoyment - but probably the people in Piedmont, where the slow food movement was founded in the town of Brá, are simply obsessed. And so it never takes long in Alba to find yourself either in the nearest delicatessen shop, with a truffle meal or in a bar with a glass of Barolo.
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