Truffles vs. Truffle Oil - a clearing up!
Every year the same procedure. When the truffle season starts I see myself confronted with the discussion about truffle oil. We already had the first cooking class and some team cooking events with fresh truffles this autumn. The discussion is back!
At the beginning of any event we usually talk a bit about the ingredients that will be used. When I let participants smell on the truffles some either say: “My truffle oil at home has a stronger truffle smell!” Or they comment before even smelling: “I know the smell because I have truffle oil at home!”
Well, I make a long story short. “Truffle oil” is basically oil and the chemical compound 2,4-dithiapentane.
The 2,4-dithiapentane found in “truffle oil” is the synthetic version of one of the ca. 20 volatile oils found in real truffles. None of the volatile oils in truffles occurs in such an intense concentration.
That’s why truffle oil has usually a metallic aftertaste. It’s simply unbalanced.
Food industry doesn’t want you to know the truth! If you look at the ingredients list of so-called truffle oil you will usually find oil, truffles and sometimes truffle aroma. The only real truffle in this “truffle oil” is the little piece that you find on the bottom of the bottle!
My problem with all this is that sometimes we have great truffles in an event and people get exited about the idea because it’s not a usual ingredient. Then we eat a dish with truffles and they are disappointed. Diners expectations of what truffles should taste like have changed due to excessive use of “truffle oil” in hospitality.
Anyhow I appreciate the subtle, complex aroma and flavours that fresh truffles can bring to a dish. And I will continue to share it with my clients.
If everyone would call “truffle oil” 2,4-dithiapentane oil instead, I would be happy because it would disappear soon.