Entries tagged with “White truffle world auction”.
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Thu 24 Jun 2010
Posted by Megan under Day Trips, Entertainment, Langhe, Tours
One of my favourite places to go in the Langhe to enjoy a dramatic setting among the rolling hills is the Grinzane Castle in Grinzane Cavour, less than a 10minute drive from TorreBarolo.
The castle is an imposing building erected around a central tower that dates back to the 1st half of the 11th century and post a restoration in 1960 it can be admired in all of its original beauty. Moreover, by being set off from the town and surrounded by vineyards on three sides, it has one of the most spectacular settings in the Langhe.
The castle currently is homes to numerous facilities. On the ground floor is the Piedmontese Regional Enoteca, which was the first to be set up in Piedmont back in 1971. This enoteca showcases the very best regional wines and grappas and each wine goes through a strict selection process before being displayed and placed on sale. The enoteca provides tastings as well.
When my wine fanatic friends are visiting me at TorreBarolo, I always bring them here as from my experience it does have the best selection of the regional offerings and offering good one stop shopping. Here you can find a list of all the wineries represented in the Enoteca Regionale. On the 1st floor is the Hall of the Masks as well as a restaurant and bar. The Hall of the Masks is where the Order of the Knights of the Truffle and Wines of Alba as well as the National Association of Cheese tasters celebrates its Chapters. The Restaurant Al Castello offers a unique setting; however, it is the bar that I think is worth making a special stop for as it has a huge window that frames the surrounding vineyards that makes for a breath-taking venue to have a café or aperitif.
Several of the castle’s rooms are dedicated to ethnography and the castle houses a permanent museum which includes truffles, rare articles relating to local food and wine traditions as well as kitchen setting from the 17th century.
Every November the castle is home to the world famous White Truffle Auction where celebrated chefs from throughout Italy and the world attend to participate in the live worldwide auction for the finest Albese white truffles. It is not unusual for the most select truffles to go for over €100,000.
Opening hours are 09.30 – 19.00 (April to October) and 09.30 – 18.00 in the winter months. The castle is closed on Tuesdays.
Sat 31 Oct 2009
Posted by Megan under Alba, Food, Langhe
Given the 79th International White Truffle fair in Alba is currently in full swing, I wanted to provide a bit more background on this delicious and mysterious fungus.
Alba is famous for white truffles and although these special fungus grow in various parts of the world (e.g., Albania, Romania, ex-Yugoslavia), it is the Alba white truffle that is considered the ultimate and that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors a year for the annual truffle fair, that will culminate in the 11th White Truffle World Auction at the Grinzane Cavour Castle on November 8th.
White truffles (tuber magnatum pico) are a wild fungus and for them to grow, the soil must consist of special properties. Also critical is that this special fungus needs trees because the truffles only grow by absorbing the water, salt minerals and fibers from the soil through the roots of the trees. Even more interesting is that the tree the truffle grows close to influences the flavour of the truffle. For example, if the truffle is growing close to an oak tree, the truffle smell will be more intense than if it grows next to a poplar tree.
Fresh truffles lose their intensity of scent and flavour quite quickly so they aren’t good for oil to be kept for months. After a few days, fresh truffle oil will loose its flavour, therefore, if you see truffle oil in shops be aware that it likely contains a chemical flavouring.
Black truffles (see photo to the right) in my opinion lack the intensity of flavour and smell of the white ones. The winter (November to March) ones tend to be the best quality and they are not as highly expensive as the white ones.
Given the going price this year is €250/100 grams, it may be intimidating shopping for a truffle. Be aware that you area allowed to take off a little skin and look at the inside of the truffle. The inside should be light to dark brown. If it is any shade of white, the truffle isn’t mature. If you do buy a truffle and it has not already been cleaned for you, they immerse it in a bowl with equal parts white wine vinegar and water. Very gently brush the outside of the truffle with a brush you might use to clean mushrooms and then pat it dry.
A truffle hunt is very exciting but can be very depressing too when you spend five hours looking, and you find nothing (personal experience!).
Because its flavour is so intense, traditionally truffle is used very simply – shaved over risotto, pasta or often eggs or a carpaccio of veal or beef – so no other flavour can try to compete with it. In the Langhe, expect to pay about €60 for a bowl of the local pasta, tajarin with a generous shaving of white truffles.
Thu 1 Oct 2009
Posted by Megan under Alba, Entertainment, Langhe
If you aren’t familiar with the events surrounding the annual International White Truffle fair in Alba, this is a great video that captures the mood and spirit of it. The images in the video are mainly from the opening weekend celebration when the city hosts various events with participants in medieval dress. One particularly entertaining event in the opening weekend is Alba’s Donkey Palio.
This is Alba making fun of its rival city Asti and its Palio (on bare horse back). Other events that weekend involve numerous wine and food tastings. If you want to make plans for a visit, this is a great time to experience the Langhe. Although the truffle fair goes on for a whole month, many of the events highlighted in this video take place the first weekend of October.