pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.
First the sad truth, unless you are buying them from a source through Italy they are typically synthetically flavored. If you can find the real thing the white truffle has a much more intense truffle flavor. For what it's worth white truffles are going for about $3,000 a pound right now but the season is largely behind us.
Susan is a Recipe Tester for Food52
I agree, most truffle oils are very cheaply manufactured and can have a very strange taste. I prefer to cook with Aux Delices des Bois Truffle Butter, which is available with both white and black truffles. I also find it much more reasonably priced that truffle oil. The only decent truffle oil I have ever found is from The Filling Station in Chelsea Market in New York City. They offer both white and black truffle oils and ship nationally.
Sadly from what any top food writer, professional food exec, chefs, etc, the truffle products from Europe are all synthetic flavoring!
When you see in the ingredients ; Amora, essence, extract, etc the are all non food terms and for extract it is impossible to squeeze a truffle; all you'll get are broken truffles.
I have seen and tried truffle oils from daRosario organics, the whole line is USDA 100% Organic and they use real truffles in everything they make.
And daRosario Organics only do organic truffle products.
a couple of companies do a so called "organic truffle oil " and a synthetic one in the same facility. Yeah right! If you believe that one you'll believe anything. You never see an organic milk company also do a conventional milk? Or Organic egg company also do non organic eggs!
I would gravely doubt the couple of companies that do synthetic truffle products and have one organic truffle are the real deal.
I'm no expert, but I can read and figure things out and all these synthetic truffle products really smell in a bad way.
There is really nothing wrong with so-called synthetic truffle oils. It's just that the truffles' flavor molecules have been isolated and replicated. Is that a bad thing? Believe me, for a food item that currently goes for $3,000 lb., there's NO other way that most of us would ever get anywhere near the taste of a truffle. Truffle oils deliver the same essential experience. And, frankly, what you think of as truffle "flavor" is actually only the AROMA. All of us know that when you've got a cold and your nose is stuffed up, you can't taste ANYTHING. That's how closely taste is tied to smell. So, understand that it's the perfume of the truffle that is so hauntingly elusive. You breathe it in, it hits the back of your throat and is processed through the olfactory, THEN you TASTE it. As a professional chef, I, and scores of others like myself, have used truffle oils to deliver a bit of truffle heaven to our diners without having to triple the price of their meals. They're fantastic if you know how to use them; primarily as finishing oils. They shine and are at their best when drizzled (sparingly) over pastas, pizzas, risottos. etc., just before serving. When used to heighten the earthy woodsiness of dishes where mushrooms are already present they are absolutely sensational! I always use a light splash of white truffle oil to enhance a duxelles filling. My customers neither know nor care whether or not they're tasting "real" truffles or truffle oil. They are just grateful to be enjoying the deep, haunting flavor and aroma of the beautiful truffle......minus the $3,000 lb. price tag. Knowing how to use them is the key, and this could present a challenge for home cooks.
I would suggest using truffle salt rather than truffle oil for most applications. You can then use a combination of the salt and either olive or a neutral tasting oil, if that is your preference. The versions of truffle salt I've tried have little chunks of real truffle and there is no comparison to the taste versus truffle oil.
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