>> Trained since they were puppies, Rocky and Jimmy are on the hunt for a rare delicacy. White truffles, this is Italy's white truffle capital, one of just a few places in the wild where they grow naturally. But it is now under threat due to climate change. Recent severe storms and a drought, which left almost two-thirds of Italian farmland with damages of up 2 billion euros.
Over the past 25 years, there has been a 30% decrease in truffle production. And, in some places, they are disappearing all together. But every year from autumn to February, the area in Alba attracts truffle hunters and their dogs on the search for the lucrative treat. Truffles, which grow below the ground, give off a unique odor when they evaporate, which can only be detected by some well-trained animals such as dogs.
Master truffle hunter, here Carlo Vecina, says the increasing scarcity means you can't do it for business but rather for the tradition.>> More than the money, I'd say it's the passion because, unfortunately in the last few years, it's been really hard to pay even the dogs' expenses, the vet bills, and everything.
We've had such dry seasons that we haven't earned a lot. In an average year you can make good profits.>> Alba holds an annual white truffle fair which attracts thousands of visitors each year. The highlight is the truffle auction. And with limited supply driving up prices, it may be no surprise that the largest ever sold at this auction went to a Hong Kong bidder for 75,000 euros.