Buying white truffles
If spending time in the hills of Piedmont leaves you curious about truffles there are many places to buy truffles and truffle products around the area. Often these places do truffle tastings. Popular products apart from the truffles themselves include pasta with white truffle, pickled truffles, truffle pates, oils, cheese and charcuterie. You can also go to local restaurants which may be serving truffles on dishes such as pasta, risotto, fondue or starters such as carne cruda.
Alternatively, you might want to time your visit to Piedmont to tie in with one of the truffle fairs which run in October and November. These fairs attract thousands each year and are a great place to buy truffles and to browse and observe all the different types as well as talking to the truffle hunters themselves and maybe seeing a truffle dog and demonstrations. You might even want to acquire a truffle straight from a hunter early in the morning hanging around the different town squares but you need to know what you are looking for and the price you are willing to pay!
How to choose White Truffles
It would be easy to be disappointed and out of pocket when buying truffles. There are good and bad quality truffles out there. Hunters and traders may well try to pass off truffles which are not ripe for a high price. Like most types of trading knowledge is key. It is best to find a trusted source.
Things to look out for in a truffle are its smell, texture and appearance. White truffles should smell slightly of garlic, honey and hay. If there is a strong smell of ammonia it is not a good truffle. Truffles should be hard when pressed not soft.
The price of truffles is determined by weight not per piece, although the aspect and shape can drive up the price. Average prices vary so it is good to know what the going rate is at that particular time. At a restaurant they will shave the truffle at your table. A 10 gram serving will usually set you back between £ 30 and £ 40.