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black truffles available at Whole Foods, good or bad?

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hello all, I heard from a friend about these $4.99 jars of black truffles being sold at Whole Foods (in Union Square, NYC) so I went and bought about 4 jars, figuring it was dirt cheap. They come in small jars in "truffle juice", branded URDET (a spanish company, I believe) and imported by CHEESEWORKS (from new jersey). My question is, anyone tried these yet? I opened it up and they do NOT smell like the truffles I've ever eaten (oils, or infusions, etc.) and actually smells kinda bad but I'm just not sure. also, I've never seen them packaged like this; only in oil, or dry, or in rice. has anyone else seen these or bought these? thoughts would be well appreciated, thank you.

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  1. to answer my own question, oops! the species is: TUBER AESTIVIUM and a quick search gave me this link:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/food/Story/...

    basically, the english summer truffle. all makes sense now. the lesson? if it's too good to be true, then it's just not true. now the question is, does anyone have any good recipes for black summer truffles?

    1. I once had black truffle ice cream at a restaurant in LA. It was like chocolate chip ice cream, only with black truffles. The chef is extraordinary.

      Black truffles go well with a lot of food. If you google it, you might find many recipes. They also go well simply shaved over risotto!

      1. I don't know if it's the same species, but there's a truffle along those lines eaten in North Africa - you might try a search along the lines of "truffle morocco OR algeria" (w/o the quotes) IIRC, they're used pretty much like one might use canned button mushrooms (ie, don't expect miracles, even given what they are.)

        1. In Umbria I've had pasta with mushroom sauce enhanced with minced Tuber Aestivum Vitt.

          Other times of year they do the same dish with real black truffles (Tuber Melanosporum Vitt.) and that's better.

          1. Bottled truffles in "truffle water" will never have the same amazing aroma or taste of fresh truffles, no matter what the variety. Quality fresh truffles simply can't be purchased on the cheap (unfortunately).

            3 Replies
            1. re: Bostonbob3

              Fresh or canned, black truffles will never have the aroma of white truffles. They're very different delicacies, though complementary.

              Real black truffles (Tuber melanosporum Vitt.) are more about flavor than aroma and to my palate are much tastier cooked. Some peole like the aroma of raw black truffles but to they smell kind of like library paste.

              Real white truffles (Tuber magnatum Pico) are only about aroma. They're never cooked.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Absolutely black truffles are better cooked. I once made the mistake of using white truffles in Danile Boulud's "Truffles In Black Tie" recipe.

                Not an utter disaster, but not a good choice, either.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  LOL @ Library paste?

                  http://chezlatina.com/I/chezlatina_17...

                  TT

              2. "Summer truffles" aren't very fragrant or flavorful, my best use has been in a madiera (+/- cream) sauce for steak.

                I had some great American truffles once, a handful of tiny ones the market wound up with, they were more fragrant and flavorful than the typical "summer" ones in jars, think they came from Georgia or Oregon (maybe NC, I think I read they've got some truffle trees going there too).