The town of Alba and the surrounding Langhe hills (protected by UNESCO World Heritage status) signify two things: white truffles and red wine. The exquisite truffles are more delicate and aromatic than the black variety found further south, whereas most of the area’s very different wines all come from the same grape, the Nebbiolo. The final taste is dependent on the soil: tuff-rich soil produces the grapes for the light red Nebbiolo; calcium and mineral-rich soil for the more robust Barolo, the “King of wines and the wine of Kings”. The entire picturesque area around Alba is dotted with attractive hill-towns, castles, wineries and cantinas, the best being at Barolo and Pollenzo. Ask at the tourist office for one of the excellent free maps and suggestions for wine tours.