OFF THE BEATEN PATH
Ovada is a small town near Genova. Only 11,714 people live there. But as any small borgo of Italy, Ovada is rich with its culture, architecture and gastronomic tradition.
One of the best occasions to visit Ovada is its Fest of Wine and Truffles. On this day the city center transforms into one big open-air wine degustation set. All restaurants offer special white truffle based menus. And anybody strolling the narrow pedestrian streets of the ancient town can enjoy a limitless variety of local delicacies like cheeses, prosciutto, homemade honey and so on.
The last Fest of Wine and Truffles in Ovada took place this Sunday November, 9. With only 5 EUR for a portable wine-glass kit that served also as a pass for free (unlimited!) wine degustation, one could benefit from the whole regional wine offer.
Ovada, in fact, is located just on the edge to the famous Montferrat area, one of the best locations of Italy for wine lovers. Among local wines to taste, there are Dolcetto and Barbera: the high quality Montferrat production famous all over the world.
However, while local DOC wines (Denominazione di Origine Controllata or, in English, Controlled Designation of Origin) have competitors all over the globe: from Napa Valley to Chile and Australia; truffles, the second delicacy of the Fest, are the unique product of Italy. And among all truffle location Piemont with no doubt is the richest one.
White truffles, the most rare and expensive type among all 13 kinds of truffles, can cost up to 5000 EUR per kilo according to the year. Fortunately this year the abounding truffle harvest lowered considerably the price, and one can purchase white truffles with only 1500 EUR per kilo. On average white truffle reaches the diameter of 2-9 cm. In practical terms that means a medium 3 cm truffle costs today around 30-40 EUR. Not bad at all!
To tell the truth, Ovada is not the only location in Piemont which organizes the Fest of Truffles. Its number one competitor located just 100 km west is Alba with its White Truffle Fair. This latter event, however, seems to be much bigger and rather international, while Ovada stays more local, cozy and “homemade”. Yet, the quantity of the served truffle is exactly the same. In Ovada during the Fest even various gelato flavors are served covered by shavings of white truffles. Yummy!
To complete this virtual tour to the land of truffles and to drag your attention to this rather unknown place, I must say that Ovada area does look like the famous and beloved Tuscuny. Smooth green hills are full of wineries and grapes, sunny weather and friendly locals.
No excuses anymore to skip the next edition of the Fest of Wine and Truffles in Ovada or to visit the upcoming White Truffle Fair in Alba the next weekend!