Big-city confidence and small-town warmth juxtapose into the capital of the Langhe, Alba. Alba's considerable gastronomic reputation comes courtesy of its white truffles, dark chocolate and wine. Its annual autumn truffle fair draws huge crowds and the odd truffle-mad celebrity. The vendemmia (grape harvest) remains refreshingly local and low key, if ecstatic in its own way. The vine-striped Langhe Hills radiate out from the town like a giant undulating vegetable garden, replete with grapes, hazelnut groves and wineries. Exploring Alba's fertile larder on foot or with two wheels is a delicious pleasure.