Alba Local Custom Tips by JLBG
Alba Local Customs: 11 reviews and 27 photos
To finish with, why not to taste some of those delicious pears ? Moreover, if what you want is an alcohol, they can give "grappa di pere" (pear brandy), a marvel, that I strongly advise to drink iced, not with an added piece of ice, really iced.
If you do not enlarge it, you will feel this is another photo of oranges. If you enlarge it, you will see superb "pepperoni" (peppers). In supermarket, there are often peppers that look almost alike but as they are grown under a greenhouse, in a country where no pepper would grow outside they do not have any taste. These yellow and red peppers .are both beautiful AND tasty. You should taste them !
All the fruits on display on Alba market are looking great but moreover, they taste great : most of them were locally grown (not the bananas, however !) or at least come from not far away. Thus they are fresher than those that have been collected in some central bulk market. Before going back to retailers. The oranges on the first photo are really tummy, but if you enlarge the second photo, you will find that they are even more pleasant to look at !
Besides mushrooms, autumn is also the season for chestnuts. Together with France, Italy is renamed for the quality of its chestnuts. As you can see on the first photo, they are sold under various qualities, depending of the size.
Look on the second photo how the small "marroni di Venasca" are 2 euros per kilo while the larger ones are 3 euros.
The third photo shows again chestnuts but this is not why I put it here. Look at the baskets, they are made of chestnut tree wood, sliced in very thin strips,4-5 centimeters wide, that are plaited in the same way than wicker but these baskets are both lighter and stronger.
The first photo shows in the center Galetti or Garitole, 18 euros per kilo are Cantharellus cibarius
In the series of 6 books "Funghi dal Vero", from Bruno Cetto gives several other names, used in various parts of Italy : Gallinaccio, Galet, Finferlo, Giallino. It is called both in French and in English by the same name, Chanterelle.
But what are these "ovuli" on the right of the photo, in the background ? The second photo shows them better. They are the famous Amanita Caesarea, hence the price ! I Bruno Cetto again gives several other names used in Italy : Ovulo, Uovolo, Ovolo buono, Bolé, Fong ross, Fungo reale, Cocco, Amanita dei Cesari, Amanita imperiale. In French, it is called Oronge or Amanite des Césars and in English Cesar's Amanita. On Alba's market, that was the only place where they were for sale. Not very common ! Of course, we bought half a kilo as for so many years, we had always wanted to taste this delicacy.
The third photo shows a close up of Cesar's Amanita. It must be outlined that it is the only Amanita which is yellow under the cap. This allows to distinguish it easily from its poisonous counterpart, %Amanita muscaria, snow white underneath.
However, to gaze at Cesar's Amanita is fine but the purpose it to taste it ! That is what we did once back home. The mushrooms were sliced, cooked for a few minutes and drained. The drained pieces were then thrown in cream, which it colored in bright orange (last photo). Once heated, seasoned and added with some Cognac, you can believe me, that was really fantastic. I now know why the Roman emperors were so fond of these mushrooms !
Besides Boletus edulis, several closely related species, all of them equally delicious are also sold. Among them, a dark species, Boletus aereus, called Porcino nero, Boleto bronzeo, Bronzino in Italian and Cèpe tête de Nègre in French. "Non si tocca !" (do not touch !)
The second photo shows a close up of two Bronzino and the third photo shows specifically the brown reddish network on the stem.
Wow, "Porcini nostrani", (homeland Bolets), lying on the chestnut leaves coming from the very trees under which they grew. This is mouth watering ! Of course, you need to enlarge the photo to taste them better !
They are Boletus edulis, called Porcino or Brisa in Italian, Cèpe de Bordeaux in French and Cep or Penny Bun in English.
On the second photo, you will have a closer look to the blond species You have not enough ? I have not and want some more ! Look at the third photo, there is more cepes that I ever saw at the same time ! And sooo fresh ! Yummy, isn't it ?
However, if you are a long way away from home, you cannot buy these and bring them home, then the last photo is for you (and what it shows). This is no bags full of dried bolets that you can easily bring back home, given that your country allows importation of mushrooms. If this is not the case, you will have to taste them here !
The Alba city market provides you with plenty of fruits, vegetables, cheese, meat, etc, but what would you do if you had nothing to cook ? Look here, you will find every size and every shape of rust free kitchenware shining in the sun ! If you prefer old cast iron pots, it is here too (second photo) !
Look at these fruits : yummy oranges, sweet pears, juicy kiwis ! Everything is superb magnificently fresh. When you see fruits like that, you would buy everything and never go again in a supermarket ! That is a dream, unfortunately !
Under the covered city market are mainly shops that sell fruits and vegetables. On the first photo, if you enlarge it, you will see superb paprikas, beautiful tomatoes, apples, artichokes, etc.
On the second photo, you will find on the right zucchini flowers. They are used to make fritters. It is a delicacy not only in Italy, but around the whole Mediterranean area. In the middle, in the foreground, mushrooms, namely Armillaria mellea. We were surprised to see that they were sold at this stage : they are considered to become inedible once the cap is open and here, it is widely open !
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