When it comes to flavour, there are few ingredients that has the impact of an ever so elegant truffle, and the only thing better than a truffle, are white truffles. Black truffles may instantly elevate any dish, but all pale to the aroma and flavour of the white truffle, specifically Alba white truffles.
What are truffles?
Truffles are a type of fungi that is related to mushroom, and although in the same family, has one very obvious difference, the way they grow. While mushrooms peek out of the growth in most wet and fertile environments, truffles grow underground instead. Truffles reproduce not by having their spores float about in the air like mushrooms, but usually are formed by the spores which clump together in the ground, forming the fragrant and prized truffle tubers.
Why are Alba white truffles so prized?
There are a variety of truffles, and in Italy alone there are 28 cultivars. However, not all truffles are edible as some don’t taste good or have the signature aroma we have become accustomed to. In Italy, the most prized of truffles are Alba white truffles, known affectionately as Trifola D’Alba Madonna, the truffle of the white Madonna, which is so expensive because of these factors – terroir, hunting, demand and fragility.
What terroir suits the white truffle?
White truffles require a specific terroir for growing, which is predominantly found in in the town of Alba in the region of Piedmont, but is also found in the towns of Asti, cultivated in Urbino and also Tuscany in Italy. White truffles have been found in France and Bosnia and Herzegovina, but none are as highly prized as the ones that come from Alba and Asti, hence the name.
How are Alba white truffles hunted?
In the past, pigs were originally used to hunt the white truffles, but due to the pigs being omnivores which end up eating the truffles themselves, dogs are preferred these days instead. As dogs do not generally eat truffles, and have the nose to sniff them out, they make much better truffle hunting companions. Another reason why truffle hunting is expensive is because the time it takes to train dogs for this purpose.
Why is there such a high demand for Alba white truffles?
One of the reasons Alba white truffles are in such high demand is because of its rarity as Alba white truffles are only harvested between the months of September to December. Another reason why it’s so scarce is how fragile the tubers can be. Unlike black truffles which have a hardy outer layer, white truffles do not. They can be easily damaged if not taken care of and may bruise and rot without proper attention. Exclusivity has always been the holy grail of fine diners.
Alba White Truffle Season at Marini’s on 57 and Marble 8 Steakhouse
If you would like to experience these exclusive truffles, you can enjoy luxurious interpretations of them incorporated to modern Italian fine dining dishes, or perfectly shaven onto a variety of our specially curated dishes. Be sure to make reservations before the Alba white truffles run out.