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  • Writer's pictureNicole Ruskell

2023 International White Truffle Festival of Alba

The largest annual celebration of the Italian white truffle takes place throughout autumn, celebrating all the delicacies on offer in the Piedmont region.


The rolling hills of Piedmont. © GIORGIO PEROTTINO – GETTY IMAGES

For 93 years, the Alba White Truffle Festival has been wowing visitors with delicious delicacies featuring the hallowed ingredient. Fresh markets, cooking demonstrations, lectures, Chef prepared dinners, and numerous tastings will leave any visitor quite satisfied. However, being at the epicentre of Italy's many revered foods and wines means there are far more on offer to please even the most discerning gourmand. Barolo wines are heavy hitters in the oenological world but here you will find top wines from Champagne, California, and other popular wine regions.


Piedmont is also famous for their hazelnuts, being the birthplace of gianduja, the beloved combination of chocolate and hazelnut. The Ferrero-Rocher factory is, of course, located here. There is no limit to the specialties on offer, being a rich playground for the gourmandises.


A playground for food lovers

All photo © GIORGIO PEROTTINO – GETTY IMAGES


The official 'Kick-Off'

Each year, to protect the truffles from over hunting, there is a mandatory stop from 1 to 20 September. But at midnight the 21st, there is a big ceremony to open the truffle hunting season, which runs from 21 September to 31 January, attended by the mayor of Alba, the heads of the Piedmont region, the National Centre for the study of Truffle, the Tourism Board for the Langhe Monferrato Roero (the three river valleys of Piedmont), the Union of Piedmont Trifalau Association and the National Fair of White Truffle in Piedmont. Bref, it's a big deal.


In addition to the ceremony, they "kick-off" the hunting season with a literal kick from Italy's wholesome hero, Gian-Luigi Buffon, legendary goalie and newly appointed head of the Italian National Football team. After his famous kick, the 'trifalao' of hunters set off into the woods with their dogs.


From the night of the kick-off to the end of January, the 'hunting season' is therefore open and one can try their dog's ability to sniff out a prize worthy tuber.


The Alba of the Future?

With a clever play on words, "Alba", the city of the truffle also means 'dawn' in Italian. This years' theme asks what the future holds for Alba and also if this is the dawning of the future. Not only a festival of culinary mastery and gourmet foods, the International White Truffle Festival of Alba is also a 9-week conference on serious topics of not only sustainability but also our very existence.


The future thus becomes the central theme of this edition, in which climate change, environmental and social sustainability, wealth distribution and social equity are some of the issues that have stimulated the global debate. Looking to the future, a central role will be played by Artificial Intelligence, a new piece of a technological advancement that divides the scientific community itself, raising doubts and risks from those who have dedicated their lives to developing it. In this global context and in the general climate of uncertainty that has been generated in recent years, human beings are increasingly questioning their future and facing increasing pressure from new generations who no longer want to passively witness the fate delivered by previous generations.


"The Alba of the Future is the payoff of the 93rd edition of the International Alba White Truffle Fair, at a time in history when there is much debate about youth, future prospects, new technologies and sustainability. If the future holds many uncertainties for us, the land will be one of the few certainties: this is the theme of the 93rd edition," says Ente Fiera President Liliana Allena. "Truffles that are nurtured and grow in the land, in the same land that gives us great wines and great products that are the offspring of the material and immaterial culture that has made the territory of Langhe Monferrato and Roero a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important food and wine tourism destinations in the world. These are the reflections we want to share and develop during the event, addressing in particular the new generations, whom we want to approach with their language and tools."


One of the many conferences © GIORGIO PEROTTINO – GETTY IMAGES

The festival organisers believe the need for transcendence is inherent in human beings and the need to believe in order to feel reassured just as much -- that the search for references and certainties keeps us alive and reassures us. Seeing a renewed need for humanity and territoriality rooted in the rediscovery of nature, there will be several lectures and debates around the importance of the earth and the opportunities it offers, with a continuous bounce between land and territory and new technological frontiers.. "In the technological age that confronts us with experiences between fiction and reality, with epochal changes in a very short time uprooting us from habits and beliefs, the human being returns to approach atavistic references: the earth, where the roots sink in and from which life is born."


In collaboration with Microsoft Italy, visitors are offered a unique experience in which present and future come together to provide innovative experiences. In fact, Alba will become a laboratory in which visitors can experiment with applications related to next-generation Artificial Intelligence to explore its potential.



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