The white Alba truffle hunt
From the middle of September to the end of December the truffle hunters from Alba scour the secret pathways among the hills of the Langhe and Roero areas.
Indeed the white truffle reaches maturity in autumn and is at its best from October onwards.
The truffle hunt usually takes place at night because the hounds are less disturbed and because the darkness hides the truffle hunter from curious eyes.
The hound is a man’s invaluable companion in the search for truffles; thanks to its well-trained nose it is able to track down the precious hypogeum fungus, which is then carefully extracted by the truffle hunter with a small hoe.
How to preserve a truffle
To appreciate the taste of a truffle at its best, it should be consumed as soon as possible.
However, there are certain ways to ensure that the taste and aroma are maintained so it may be also enjoyed a few days after picking.
It is therefore necessary to:
• Wrap each truffle in paper or fabric without removing the soil;
• Change the wrapping every day;
• Store in the fridge in a container which must be kept open to allow the truffle to “breathe”.
The aroma (composed by gas) released during the maturation tends to be absorbed by milk, butter, cheese and eggs stored near the truffle.
When the truffle starts to go soft it must be consumed immediately as this is a sign that it has reached the maximum maturity.
How to use a truffle
A truffle should only be cleaned a few minutes before using it, under cold water with a small brush for a more thorough cleaning.
Truffle is then cut into thin slices and served raw on either cold and hot dishes and with light sauces.
It is an ideal pairing with cheese fondue, “tajarin” (hand-made egg pasta), risotto from Piedmont culinary tradition, raw meat, Porcini mushrooms and “royal ovule” (“ammanita cesarea” ) mushroom salads.
It is excellent on fried eggs.