In the gastronomic heaven that is Italy, Alba is a leading player courtesy of its black truffles, dark chocolate and wine – including the incomparable Barolo, the Ferrari of reds. Eschewing the modern penchant for junk food, this once-powerful city-state has redirected its energy into showcasing the fine art of real cooking, with ingredients plucked from within spear-throwing distance of your restaurant table. All becomes clearer at the annual truffle fair and the equally ecstatic vendemmia (grape harvest).
The vine-striped Langhe Hills radiate out from the town like a giant undulating vegetable garden, replete with grapes, hazelnut groves and fine wineries. Exploring Alba's fertile larder on foot or with two wheels is a rare pleasure.