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Trader Joe's Truffle Oil

jrmd Jun 7, 2007 11:58 AM

Is this any good? Thinking of making some popcorn and sprinkling it on. Any thoughts?

  1. g
    Godbaum Feb 14, 2012 05:56 AM

    Truffle Honey (made from white truffles) is a delicious condiment that gives a nice truffle flavor. I use it mostly in dips and sauces but then I'm vegetarian. I can imagine it imparting a proper flavor to meat, etc. It is extremely intensely flavored and a creamy thick type of honey, so much easier to measure and add, and I never add more than maybe 1/4 teaspoon of it if cooking a dish for two. It doesn't add too much sweetness because very little is needed. You can balance that of course with a splash of acidic wine. I plan to use some tonight for valentines dinner: seitan steaks in a truffle, mushroom sauce.

    I have also tried a mushroom and olive tapenade. I was given it as a gift and enjoyed it but for $20+ for an amount similar to the honey which costs only $12 or so, it is clear which is the best deal. Also, the tapenade does taste fairly olive-y and loses it's flavors when cooked.

    I no longer use butter but when I did I found truffle butter to be very inconsistent. Sometimes it is very strong but sometimes it is so mild that the extremely caramelized taste of aged butter overpowers the truffle.

    For adding flavor to a dish that really envelops it, try the honey. In Toronto they sell it at Ararat, in North York area, a food emporium worth visiting for their many delights and the best hummus in Toronto (slathered onto a sandwich with falafel or vine leaves).

    Also just wanted to point out that I am only partially familiar with the flavor of fresh truffles: after all who eats these any more outside of special occasions. I've had fresh truffles once at a luxurious dinner and found that their flavour did absolutely nothing for the dish, just kind of sitting on top of it. I prefer the ability to blend the flavors into the sauce rather than just a slice of truffle, which seems to me like a nostalgic garnish, calling back to the days of truffled birds (with the truffle under the skin to steam in the flavour). Putting a slice of truffle on top of a dish is out dated!

    1. MsDiPesto Aug 3, 2009 07:49 AM

      Well, if it's not harmful, I'm going to keep my bottle of TJs Truffle Oil around. I'm not likely to buy truffles as I need/desire them on my salary. This gives me a similar, if not authentic flavor for little cost.

      1. b
        barndog Jun 8, 2007 10:44 PM

        I have run across some truffle salt, and that's the real deal. You can see the tiny little bits of truffle in the shaker....tasted awesome, too.

        2 Replies
        1. re: barndog
          megkrichards Aug 2, 2009 01:10 PM

          Given all the shady (and sometimes perfectly legal) sleight-of-hand we have been discussing in the comestibles market, I wouldn't bet on those little tiny bits of something you can see in the shaker being actual truffle. They could be anything.

          1. re: megkrichards
            greygarious Aug 2, 2009 04:10 PM

            TJ's discontinued it last year.

        2. f
          Fleur Jun 7, 2007 08:18 PM

          Almost all the "truffle Oil" on the market gets its flavor and aroma from CHEMICALS. There is no Truffle in most Truffle Oil. If the label says "truffle essence", "truffle flavor", or "truffle aroma", no real truffle has ever been anywhere near the product."

          Quoting Frank Bruni in thre NYT : " .....Most commercial truffle oils,” it continued, “are concocted by mixing olive oil with one or more compounds like 2,4-dithiapentane (the most prominent of the hundreds of aromatic molecules that make the flavor of white truffles so exciting) that have been created in a laboratory.”

          I make some once or twice a year when we indulge and buy Black or White Truffles. I use the peelings and a few shavings in a light EVOO.

          Trader Joe is all show, advertising, and promotion, IMO. A very long way away from fresh, natural, and unprocessed.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Fleur
            Pollo Jun 7, 2007 09:03 PM

            Well...this makes me not happy...I just bought some white truffle oil at Costco at what seemed a good price ($19.90 for 8 oz.) and it is porobally the "fake" version.....However, working in the food industry I can see how aromas can be mimicked chemically to the point that they are virtually indistinguishable from the "real" thing. But what gets me is that this type of product can be sold in the open and leagaly even though it is a pure "fake". US regulations are very problematic when it comes to such things....just thank your local lobby group. Along the same lines if people knew why some fast food chains can claim that their burgers are 100% beef they would be shocked...

            One question to "Fleur"....can you please share how you make your oil using the peelings?....proportions of oil to peeling?....elevated temperature?....length of infussion? It just happens that I have three large cans of black truffle shavings that I plan to "experiment" with....maybe truffle infused oil....or truffle butter or truffle salt?

            1. re: Pollo
              ML8000 Jun 7, 2007 09:09 PM

              Frankly how can anyone really be shocked given the price. $150-$300 per/oz for Oregon truffles and $400-$500 for French.


            2. re: Fleur
              Densible Jun 8, 2007 08:48 PM

              The TJ label says "Italian EVOO INFUSED with TRUFFLES (Tuber Magnatum Pico), Arome. Is "arome" another name for chemical essence made in a lab or the chemical essence derived from the natural product? Product of Italy. That's it. I'd appreciate a ruling on this as I'd like to get a refund if it is not as advertised.

              1. re: Densible
                Fleur Jun 8, 2007 09:38 PM

                The label is accurate and perfectly legal. "TRUFFLES (Tuber Magnatum Pico), Arome" is the common name for truffles, the Latin name, and the word "arome" that is the qualifier. That is a chemical, a chemical created in a lab, not a derivative of the Truffle. . Chances are no truffles have been anywhere near your bottle.

                Anything marked "truffle essense" or "truffle arome" is made from chemicals.

                1. re: Fleur
                  Ruth Lafler Jun 8, 2007 10:47 PM

                  There's a comma, which to me means those are two separate ingredients. The label further says that the oil is infused with truffles. I think the catch is that it doesn't say how much truffle .... probably just a touch per vat of oil, with the flavor boosted by the "arome."

            3. m
              ML8000 Jun 7, 2007 07:40 PM

              Well I'm just CRUSHED it's not real truffle. I mean for $8 bucks it should blow my mine and slay my taste buds. Seriously...I'm not surprised it's not real truffles given how much it costs. Still tastes okay to me but then I'm not a connoisseur.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ML8000
                embee Jun 7, 2007 07:42 PM

                The brands that cost 30 bucks for a tiny bottle aren't any different.

              2. e
                embee Jun 7, 2007 07:13 PM

                We don't have Trader Joe's in Canada, so I can't be specific about that brand. I've found that some brands of white truffle oil, which contain nothing but olive oil and truffle essence, do add a nice flavour to many foods. Truffle oil on popcorn should be a good flavour combination. But...

                There seems to be a consensus developing among many food professionals that virtually all truffle oils are synthetic, and typically not labeled as such. Considering costs, this seems likely. The oils certainly don't perfume a room like a fresh truffle, yet many brands add a very strong flavour to food.

                Some chefs have acknowledged being fooled. Many take the position that it really doesn't matter as long as it tastes good. Others feel it is a massive fraud. One well known chef (name forgotten) recently threw his supply against a wall. I wish I could recall my source for this info -- any help out there?

                I have found that many white truffle oils (available brand labels seem to change frequently) are indeed overtly synthetic and sometimes noxious. Others have little aroma and less or no taste. But I have sampled a few that added a pleasant truffle undertone to food (whether real or artificial, I know not). I have never personally tasted a black truffle oil worth buying.

                1. b
                  barndog Jun 7, 2007 07:05 PM

                  This article may change your thinking about truffle oil:

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: barndog
                    embee Jun 7, 2007 07:36 PM

                    That wasn't the article I saw, but it comes to a similar conclusion. Thanks.

                  2. digkv Jun 7, 2007 06:44 PM

                    I've only had the White Truffle Oil but I found it sort of chemically tasting. But that could just be me.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: digkv
                      Densible Jun 7, 2007 06:54 PM

                      me too but I think I do not have a well honed appreciation for truffles....

                    2. m
                      mattrapp Jun 7, 2007 01:45 PM

                      It is excellent for the price,especially when you consider the white truffle oil from Urbani is about $40-60 per 8 ounce bottle. It is hard to go wrong for the price.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mattrapp
                        ML8000 Jun 7, 2007 02:07 PM

                        Exactly. Great stuff and for $8 for the 8 oz bottle, you can afford to test it without feeling bad. My first test was over pasta with a little butter...tasted great.

                      2. c
                        chaddick Jun 7, 2007 01:18 PM

                        I love it. I spread a little bit of goat cheese on a whole grain cracker and then drizzle with truffle oil. Yummmmmmmmmmm.

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