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FARMING

White truffle prices reach an all-time high in Italy

The white truffle is one of the most sought-after ingredients for autumnal dishes in Italy and around the globe, and it's also one of the priciest.

White truffle prices reach an all-time high in Italy
A model poses with a truffle in the Piedmont countryside. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

This year, the cost per kilo of the delicacy soared to a record high at the prestigious White Truffle Fair in Alba, Piedmont.

The average price of truffle per kilo reached €6000, up from €5,000 five years ago, and €4,500 ten years ago, according to an analysis from farmers' organization Coldiretti. The group said this year's unfavourable climate was to blame for the steep increase. 

Truffles need both rain and cold to thrive, both of which have been in short supply during a summer of heatwaves and drought. 

Both olive and wine production also suffered, with the wine harvest getting off to its earliest start in a decade in some areas. In total, Coldiretti predicted that losses to Italian agriculture because of the summer's extraordinary temperatures would amount to €2 billion.

The Alba white truffle fair, which has been held annually since before World War II, draws in thousands of gourmet pilgrims for nearly two months of tasting, buying and selling each year, and is used as a reference point for truffle prices and quality across the country. Only a small amount of truffle is typically used in recipes,  typically shaved onto pasta, a risotto, or used to infuse honey or pesto.

LA BELLA VITA

La Bella Vita: The best Italian-language podcasts, and unexpected foods you’ll find in Italy

From Italian podcasts to surprising delicacies and our favourite overlooked travel destinations, new weekly newsletter La Bella Vita offers you an essential starting point for eating, talking, drinking and living like an Italian.

La Bella Vita: The best Italian-language podcasts, and unexpected foods you'll find in Italy

La Bella Vita is our regular look at the real culture of Italy – from language to cuisine, manners to art. This new newsletter will be published weekly and you can receive it directly to your inbox, by going to newsletter preferences in ‘My Account’ or follow the instructions in the newsletter box below.

A cornerstone of Italian culture, the tabaccheria is used for much more than just buying cigarettes. In fact, these little shops are pretty central to everyday life and anyone who moves to or just spends time in Italy will need to become as familiar with them as they are with the local coffee bar.

From paying bills to purchasing bus tickets, here are just some of the services you should know about and a few tips for your first visit.

Why the tabaccheria is essential to life in Italy – even if you don’t smoke

For Italian language learners: listening to podcasts is a great way to immerse yourself in a new language. Luckily there’s a vast range of audio shows for people wanting to learn Italian, whether you’re studying at an advanced level or learning from scratch. Here we’ve selected a few of our favourites, plus readers’ suggestions:

Some of the best podcasts for learners of Italian

Italy is known worldwide for pizza and gelato, but Italian cuisine is incredibly diverse and visitors are often surprised by some of the local delicacies on offer. I know rustic Tuscan cuisine didn’t exactly match my expectations when I first arrived in Italy. I quickly learned to love it – but my mother-in-law’s homemade chocolate cake made with pig’s blood (sanguinaccio is a delicacy in Puglia…) was a step too far!

So, from fried brains and tripe to suggestive desserts that you definitely wouldn’t expect the local priest to approve of, here’s a look at some more of the traditional foods loved by Italians – but not always by foreigners.

From fried brains to ‘sexy’ cakes: The Italian foods you might not expect in Italy

Visitors can find more than they bargained for at a traditional Italian food market. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

As regular visitors know, there’s much more to Italy than just the glamour of Rome, Venice or Florence, but some destinations suffer – we think unfairly – from negative reputations. From Caserta to Reggio Calabria and beyond, here are some of the overlooked Italian towns that are home to incredible sights that everyone should see at least once.

Nine overlooked Italian towns you should visit

If you’re planning a visit to Italy (or to another part of Europe from Italy) this year but want to cut down your carbon footprint, train travel is a great option and there are more routes than ever connecting Italy’s major cities to other parts of the continent.

Here are some of the main direct international train services you can use for travel between Italy and other European countries this year.

The train routes connecting Italy to the rest of Europe in 2023

Remember if you’d like to have this weekly newsletter sent straight to your inbox you can sign up for it via Newsletter preferences in “My Account”.

Is there an aspect of the Italian way of life you’d like to see us write more about on The Local? Please email me at [email protected]

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