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May 27, 2005 12:56 PM

I need advice on black truffles

  • l

I have a foodie friend. He has taken vacations where he works as an apprentice in a 5-star restaurant. You might say he's a rather serious gourmand.

I was thinking a nice gift to get him for his birthday (which is in 3 weeks) might be a black truffle, and a truffle shaver.

I went to Surfas (a local store here billed as "The Chef's Paradise") to find out when fresh truffles will be in. The man said in about 2 weeks. But, he said, the summer truffles will not survive being shipped back to the east coast if I purchase them through Surfas and have them sent.

I looked on the internet and found premium black truffles from France for $70 per oz. They are called winter truffles, and it looks like they come in a vacuum-packed jar.

So, what is the difference between winter and summer truffles? Should I forget about the fresh stuff and simply get truffle oil or truffle powder? I wouldn't want to send him something that will turn into a white elephant (i.e., if the truffle has a shelf life of 1 day, and he's leaving for vacation.)

Any suggestions and advice would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. I have not tried truffles from a jar but I have wasted $70 on a can of black truffles - faint truffle flavor but pretty bland - most truffle oils/butters you can buy have more truffle flavor.

    3 Replies
    1. re: AimeeP

      I just tried the best truffle oil I ever had, Da Rosario. It comes in a triangular shaped opaque bottle. They make white and black truffle, and fresh porcini mushroom olive oils. All come with little pieces of the truffle or mushrooms in the bottom of the bottle, must be why it's so strong. Never ate so much oil by itself before.

      1. re: coll

        usually with truffle oils, once you open the does not keep it s flavor too long...

        1. re: doc

          Yes, that's why he has the actual truffles/mushroom in there, this stuff is really different.

    2. You do not want to buy truffles now. The season is late fall early winter for white and until lastest early April for black. The other products are just not worth the money. And even when you buy fresh one in season you can get very poor product and even sometimes ripoffs, such as Chinese truffles, that have no flavor, sold as French ones.

      If you are not an expert just keep away from truffles and a truffle shaver (because your friend will have the same problems trying to get something worthwhile to user that shaver with). Look perhaps instead at duck liver or some very good vinegars, salts and the likes. Sorry to disappoint you but you would surely not want to drop a hundred dollars on a gift for a good friend and have it turn out the that product is crap.

      1. a
        Amin (London Foodie '''')

        I agree with what mdibiaso has advised. Don't know
        what the shelf life of truffles might be or what
        storage conditions may be required, though am hoping
        someone out there may be able to comment in this

        Try some other specialist items : foie gras,
        Saffron/saffron oil, walnut oil.....

        BTW, did you know that:
        If you pop some 'truffle' into a glass jar containing
        either raw Risotto /Basmati, the rice will soak up the
        moisture preventing the truffle from mouldiness and at
        the same time it will take in the truffle aroma.

        1. as a gift get balsamico tradionale