Trufflemania

Discovering Piedmont’s Buried Treasures

Tour Overview:

  • Taste the pinnacle of Langhe wines in Barolo and Barbaresco
  • Enjoy private sit-down tastings at marquee wineries such as Silvio Grasso and Marchesi di Gresy
  • Visit Alba’s famed truffle market in full swing
  • Feast on artisan cheese and salumi during a buffet lunch at a cheese farm in the Alte Langhe
  • Hunt for truffles in a hazelnut grove with a truffle hunter and his dog
  • Only have a short amount of time? This mini-tour is just for you, spotlighting the best of the Langhe at harvest-time.

    First, there’s the white truffles, worth their weight in gold. October and November are the time when truffles are hunted, sold, and celebrated in Alba, truffle capital of Piedmont. It’s when these subterranean tubers have finished their 50-day growing cycle at the roots of favored trees and been rooted out by the obedient hounds of trifolau (truffle hunters). And it’s the perfect time to delve into the mystique and business of these homely, fragrant funghi.

    We’ll accompany a truffle hunter into the woods, seeing where and how truffles grow, watching his truffle hound in action, and hearing how hunters train their endearing, curly haired pooches to find and fetch—but not eat!—their precious cargo.

    We’ll also hunt for truffles in Alba. We’ll visit its famous truffle market, now in full swing, where the heady, earthy scent of gathered specimens will make you swoon.

    And we’ll look for them on the menu, where they’re typically grated over tajarin (handmade egg linguine), risotto with Castelmagno cheese, ravioli filled with egg and chard, and other creamy, opulent dishes.

    Northern Italy’s sub-alpine mountain regions make a huge number of cheeses, some named after their towns, such as Gorgonzola, Castelmagna, and Bra (home to the Slow Food movement). We’ll visit Murrazzano, located in the Alte Langhe and known for its DOP fresh cheese rounds made from cows’ and sheep’s milk. As we climb to this higher-elevation area of the Langhe, vineyards drop from sight and pastures abound. We’ll visit a new family-run caseificio (cheese farm) where we’ll have a tour and a buffet lunch featuring their fresh cheeses and homemade salumi.

    Whether it’s mountain cheese or white truffles, there’s nothing better to wash it down than Barolo, that elixir of wines. We’ll visit a family-run winery in Barolo, where a family member will pour Barolos from different single vineyards to demonstrate what a difference terroir makes. Then we’ll repeat the lesson the next day in Barbaresco. Delicious homework required!

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