Last Sunday was a glorious weather for a day out, so we decided to pay a visit to the small town of Acqualagna, for the annual Truffle Fair (which ends November 9th. Just saying.)
You may have heard of Alba’s truffle fair (in Piedmont), which is the largest and most ancient such fair. Acqualagna’s is the second largest truffle fair in Italy. We are talking above 15,000 people over two weeks.
This appears to be a very generous year, and prices reflect the abundant finds by being exceptionally low. The quote last sunday was around €1,500/kilo for large ones and as low as 1,000 for tiny ones (for a comparison, it was about four times as much five years ago, a very scarce year).
Truffle is surely an acquired taste: the thing stinks horribly. Some will tell you it’s not stinking, it’s a “perfume”. Which is a bit like saying that a tar pit is a spa.
Black or White?
There are typically two varieties of truffle:
- the summer black one, less nefarious to the nose, slightly blander in taste and cheaper
- the winter white one, with a richer taste and a smell comparable to a teenager’s sneaker closet, but more expensive.
Which is better? Experts will tell you white truffle. Me, I suggest you try both and deciding for yourself.
Truffle or truffle-product?
There’s a great variety of truffle-enriched products: oils, butters, sauces. If you can’t find or afford actual truffle, then a good product can be a decent surrogate. The only problem is making sure there is actual truffle in what you buy: spoofs are rather common. Price should be a good indicator here: a real truffle product costs about as much as actual truffle. Also, being personally acquainted with the producer or the seller is a good way to avoid wasting money.
If you go for the real thing, you need about 10g of truffle per person. This year, it can mean as little as €10 per person. A dead giveaway if you ask me.
Buy only as much as you need and consume it as soon as possible: storing it is not a great idea, it will lose its aroma fast. Of course, you can clean it, slice it thinly and make your own truffle oil (still not a great idea: it needs to be stored in the fridge where the oil will rapidly solidify).
Us? Simona bought a couple small white ones and we’ll be having a truffle dinner next Thursday. Stay tuned!