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Alba - The Dom Returns

and buys a tartufo bianco for England

November 2006


Back to Paradoxplace Piemonte Photo Galleries




Links to all Paradoxplace Truffle Festival pages



Photos from Alba in 2007


Alba's Indoor Truffle Market


Alba's outdoor Sunday street food festival (2006) .....


Tartufo Festival 1     Tartufo Festival 2     Tartufo Festival 3



Other foodie pages from October 2006



The Dom returns to Alba in November 2006 to buy a Tartufo Bianco for England (this page)






It did not take Paradox long after his first visit (4 weeks to be precise) to get back to Alba (il paradiso dei buongustai), as he realized that it was a perfect stopping off point between Tuscany and Burgundy, and even if it did involve a one hour side track the rewards were worth it!


In November the Cathedral of San Lorenzo looks out from  over the peaceful and deserted piazzas and streets of post truffle festival Alba.  Lorenzo, who was a Deacon of the early Christian Church in Rome, supposedly met his end strapped to a BBQ griddle (with the charcoal lit), and with a fine sense of irony was later made the Patron Saint of Chefs. 


The facade saint here is carrying a griddle replica.  You can still see part of the original griddle relic in the church of San Lorenzo in Lucina,  just off the Via del Corso in Rome.


San Lorenzo in Lucina - Griddle




The symbols of the four evangelists are recessed into the brick facade of the Cathedral of San Lorenzo.  From the left:


Saint Matthew

Man (Christ as human)


Saint Mark

Winged Lion (Christ as king)

see particularly Venice pages

Saint Luke

(see right)

Winged Bull (Christ as sacrifice)

other examples include Orvieto Troia and Norwich (England)

Saint John the Evangelist

Eagle (Christ as God)







In general the Duomo has been botched up by inept restoration and taste, but go in and enjoy this beautiful modern font in the NW Chapel - it's very rare to find modern stuff of such good quality in old cathedrals anywhere.


Link to more baptismal fonts



2013 NEWS


A restaurant in Alba's Piazza Duomo - called "Piazza Duomo" - is No 41 in the 2013 World's Best Restaurant list


Recommended standout dish:  Turnip tops, scallops and sea urchins


  • Piazza Risorgimento 4
    12051 Alba
    +39 0173 366 167



    Hotel I Castelli ****


    The Paradox Hotel of choice in Alba is the I Castelli ****.  Very accessible (Corso Torino, just off the SW edge of the town centre), friendly and helpful staff, large secure underground car park, large comfortable rooms, reasonable restaurant, and all only 5 minutes walk from the via Vittore Emanuele and Piazza Risorgimento (above and below).  You will have to book months ahead for Friday - Sunday weekend stays when the Truffle Festival is on in October / November, but when you sit at the window of your comfortable room updating the web pages or whatever, and look out on the Sunday traffic jams and full car parks, you realize that the effort is worth it !!





    Even though the big Alba truffle market does not operate outside the mainly October festival times, you can still get the white gold from a few specialist shops in town when it is in season. 




    This is Gianfranco of Tartufo Ponzio (via V Emanuele 26) (+393357076273),

    who says he can ship the white tubers below to many places in the world.

    4,500 a Kilo was the 2006 shop door price - half what it was in 2005 - 50% deflation (you can tell that the Dom has a banking background).  The three truffles below would set you back 1,840.50.







    And this is the Dom's 200 starter kit to take back to his relatives in the UK.  Also needed is 200gm of the finest unsalted butter.  Sadly only 1 of the 10 natives gathered for the great shaved tuber tasting event in Surrey, England "got it" or did anything more than politely mumble "very interesting", though there was genuine interest when the Dom accidentally sliced his thumb instead of the tartufo on the stainless steel "tagliatartufo". 


    To transport a tartufo it needs to be wrapped in paper (towel) and kept cool in a sealed glass jar.   Every evening it should be taken out and unwrapped and talked to for around 20 minutes to show your appreciation of the heavenly perfume wafting around the hotel room.  If fresh when bought, it will last for a week or so in prime condition if it is treated right.


    One of the shops near the town centre is "Tartufi & Co", the "Holland and Holland" of truffle hunters (below).  The tubers (and their locations) are guarded like Fort Knox, but it is possible to pay to go exploring in a safe way. 


    Remember also that everywhere in Italy the weekend countryside is packed with heavily armed  "men huntin", and if you must wander in the woods it is essential to avoid camouflage fatigues and put on the brightest most reflective clobber you can lay your hands on.





    Links to

    All Piemonte Pages

    Tartufo Festival 1

    Tartufo Festival 2

    Tartufo Festival 3

    Tartufo Bianco Official Market

    Alba in November (this page)


    Alba Tartufo Festival 2007


    Paradoxplace Truffle Festival Pages



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