After a beautiful lunch in the beautiful hilltop village of Nieve with the Swedish tour organizer Marie (who has lived here for as many years as I have lived, period), I decided to go truffle hunting. Alba is world famous for its truffles. Well, true, August is not the season, and white truffle does not keep well, so only the black summer truffle was sold fresh. Less potent, and with a different scent. Unfortunately I’m crazy about the pungent flavor of the super expensive white one… October-November is the time for the traditional truffle hunting, generally done by old men with trained dogs, called trufalau (the men, not the dogs). Some of the trufalau take the location of their favorite spots with them to the grave, it is THAT valuable.
Luckily, producers like TartufLange make good products to care for those of us who are not here in season, and I got a small jar of their white truffle paste (99% white truffle and a bit of olive oil to keep it moist) which will be used to season my truffle aioli that I like to make for dipping sweet potato fries and serving with champagne. I also got black truffle honey from the chic shop of the small family producer Tartufi Ponzio. The handsome owner recommended serving it with goats cheese and maybe an aged white Bourgogne. At the same shop, I also found an olive oil from Tenuta san Guido, the famous makers of the supertuscan Sassicaia. Couldn’t help it, it was of course somewhat over-priced (€20) but I wanted the bottle in my kitchen. Nerd.