There are food festivals all over Italy for those who have a fat pocketbook and a passion for truffles. The national white truffle festival will run until 6 November in Alba, Italys most famous town for truffles. A truffle market is held on Satuday and Sunday mornings in the Cortile della Maddalena, where it is also possible to taste and buy other food and wine from the Langhe area of the Piedmont region. The news about the truffles this year is good. Following heavy rains, the very highest quality Magnatum Pico Prince of Alba truffles are large and highly perfumed and the price should remain at the same levels as in 2004, from 1,500 per kilo to a high of 4,500 per kilo. See www.fieradeltartufo.org.

In Gubbio, in central Italy, there will be a white truffle and agricultural market with produce from the mountain communities of the Alto Chiacio, from 29 October until 2 November. At the Gubbio festival, 89 villages in the provinces of Pesaro, Urbino, Arezzo, Perugia and Forli-Cesena will launch a tourist itinerary called the Strada del Tartufo, which includes gastronomy and sightseeing. See www.cmaltochiascio.it.

There are smaller truffle markets all over central Italy in this season, including those at Mesola in the province of Ferrara on the 29 and 30 October, at S. Miniato in Tuscany on the weekends of 12-13, 19-20 and 26-27 November, and at S. Agata Feltria and S. Angelo in Vado in the Marche region every weekend until 30 October.