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James Martin

Alba in Autumn: Truffles and Way More

By December 3, 2012

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alba chocolate fair picture
Is it just me or is it true that there's a law stating that you can't mention the Piemonte town of Alba without mentioning truffles within the same phrase?

Alba is certainly a fine Autumn destination. And truffles!--not that many substances on earth have the power to make a boiled sweat sock seem like gourmet food just by grating tiny slivers over it.

So, I was reading Shruti's food blog...

"In Italy I have been following an autumn ritual of my own - for the last 3 years have religiously made a `pilgrimage' to that temple of flavor - Alba, which is in the Piemonte region of North Italy. And the presiding deity of which is the Alba White Truffle..." ~ An Autumn Ritual

Ah, the presiding deity! That means there are more waiting in the wings you know. Like the "lesser" deity chocolate. The big Ferrero Rocher factory sits just out of the historic center, and artisans display their wares at festivals in all kinds of weather as you see in the photo above. Then there's wine and some fantastic curiosities we've recently visited.

Alba's Duomo or Cathedral has some fascinating wood-carved chorus stalls built in 1512 by Bernardino Fossati. The backs of the stalls are decorated with inlaid wood, telling the story of Alba scene by scene. Imagine! Works of a fragile medium like wood that gleam as if they were made yesterday, yet the birth of this art came a mere 20 years after the invasion of America by Europeans.

After you visit the Duomo and have peered under its floors and seen those chorus stalls, turn left as you exit and head over to experience another of the Piemonte's indulgences, the elegant coffee house. The Antico Caffè Calissano will do just fine.

Related: The Food and Wines of Piemonte | Piemonte Map Showing Alba

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