In the middle of the wonderful landscape of the Langhe, arises Alba, which has always been the economic centre of this area. The ancient name of this city was Alba Pompeia, because it was founded by the Romans and it shows many proves of its ancient origins. It is an important industrial centre at European level thanks to many textile and food industries.
On 31th October 2017 Alba has been recosgnised part of the Unesco World Heritage for its food creativity. The main and most famous product of this city is the white truffle, king of recipes such as fresh pasta tajarin, eggs and fondue.
The Tuber magnatum pico
The white truffles are underground mushrooms, they are not cultivable, that grow in mycorrhizic symbiosis with specific arboreous trees (oak, willow, poplar…). They can be of many different shapes, from globous to plate. The external, called ‘peridio’, varies from a milk white colour to ochre yellow, while the inner core, called ‘gleba’, has brown streaked furrows. Truffles are famous for the unique fragrance. The aromatic range includes echoes of garlic, mushroom and honey. There are many different species of truffles, but he white grows only in the Langhe and Monferrato territories and in few other places in Italy, for this reason it is the most valuable specie and, moreover, it is also the bigger one for dimensions. The Alba white truffle is harvested from mid-September to the end of December and begins in October and reaches its maximum ripeness. To fully enjoy the aroma, it should be consumed as soon as possible.
The prestigious Tuber magnatum Pico is celebrated in autumn during the Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo bianco d’Alba (International Alba White Truffle Fair) which this year will be held from the 5th to 24th November.
Food and wine
Among the most delicious local products you can taste the Alba meat (raw meat carpaccio with lemon, extra virgin oil and Parmesan flakes), the brasato al Barolo (braised beef) and the sliced veal covered with a creamy, mayonnaise-like sauce flavoured with tuna. In this city a key role is played by the confectionery industry, in fact, Alba is the seat of the Ferrero.
Alba is full of nice places to have a lunch. In the city centre there are two starred resraurants: Enrico Crippa’s Piazza Duomo which has obtained three Michelin stars and the Ristorante Larossa (one Michelin star) founded by Andrea Larossa.
We cannot forget the wine market, in fact the city is surrounded by vineyards where are cultivated the grapes for the production of the most important and prestigious Italian wines, which are celebrated in spring with the Vinum event.
The wines are the products that better represent the expression of the territory, which counts the highest number of AOC and AOCG labels and the largest vineyards AOC surface, that includes Barolo, Barbaresco, but also the AOC , Barbera d’Alba, Nebbiolo d’Alba, Langhe.
The quality of these wines comes from the vineyards and from the experience of the farmers, who continue to cultivate respecting the tradition even looking at new techniques. Among the wineries located in Alba, the capital of the Langhe, there are Ceretto and Pio Cesare, both are considered warranty of quality in the wine world.
Do not forget the Gentle Round Hazelnut or PGI Piedmont Hazelnut, that is universally recognised as the best in the world; it is cultivated in the areas located all around Alba. The final products are peeled hazelnuts, cakes, creams and nougat: a very ancient traditional sweet.