Sniffing Out Alba's Truffle Festival
Even more precious than the Tuber Magnatum is the dog on the scent of a truffle. In Roddi, Italy, an area just a few miles away from Alba's Truffle Fair, Daisy (a Lagotto Romagnolo) shows off how quickly she can find the precious tuber.
Daisy, like her canine colleagues, has been trained since puppydom to love and search out truffles. To the gastro-world, she's a superhero—in the daytime, an average dog sharing a bit of love with the family, but once the night is dark and the moon is high, Daisy's on the search of buried treasure, sniffing out Alba's deep-rooted white truffles.
Thanks to heavy rains in Italy this year, dogs like Daisy have had more than enough work as truffles are having a bumper season. Prices are an average 200 euro/gram, compared to 350 euro/gram in 2013 (and 500 euro/gram in 2012), which means from now through November 16, you'll have more than one way to eat a truffle.
In Alba, a typical dish is tajarin col tartuffo-taglierini (thin, linguini-like pasta) with shaved truffle, though a simple fried egg with shaved truffle will do, or the truffle "sandwich" of shaved truffle and anchovies, a tartufaio (truffle hunter) favorite.
Erica Firpo is a Rome-based writer and frequent contributor to travelandleisure.com.