Living the ‘high’ life in Alba (tipsy on a hilltop)

After my short but sweet (and savoury) encounter with Turin, it was time to discover Piedmont’s more rural side. And when I say rural I mean posh-backpacker-style rural, complete with truffles and wine 😉 So, off I went to Alba, Italy’s truffle and wine capital. And surprise, surprise: it just so happened that I was there during the town’s annual White Truffle Fair.

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Truffles – and in particular white ones – are probably one of the most expensive food items out there. Unfortunately, my not-so-tight budget is also not THAT large to be able to go crazy on this exquisite delight, but with some luck you can actually find some pretty affordable truffles in Alba (I’m talking €20 and above for a small truffle). We’re right at the source after all! If you’re visiting the White Truffle Fair (which takes place every year in October and November), make sure you get there early so you’ll have a better chance of finding some great deals.

And once you’ve found your truffle, do as the locals do and have it right away, shaved onto a dish of carne cruda (steak tartare) or potato fonduta (Piedmont-style fondue). Pure goodness on a plate… Italians really do it better.

If, like me, you don’t know an awful lot about truffles and would like to learn more about them, this is a perfect opportunity to do so as the fair organises truffle workshops, alongside local wine-tasting sessions.

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Once you’ve had enough truffles (or you’ve ran out of money), head out to see Alba and its environs. Alba itself is tiny and has a nice main square and some lovely cobblestone streets. The surrounding area is one of Italy’s most famous wine regions. So if you love sipping wine at a sunny vineyard (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t?), then this is the place to be. I visited Fontanafredda and it was just gorgeous. This once royal winery is not only beautifully located on a hilltop, overlooking the hills of Alba, it also produces some amazing local wines (Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera and Nebbiolo). Personally, I don’t know a lot about wine, but I do know how to enjoy a good one and sipping a glass of Barolo whilst watching the sun set over the hills of Piedmont is definitely one of my favourite ways.

Did I already mention that Italians really do it better? *Sigh*

Until next time, Italy!

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