I'm interested in your opinions of this product. Have not tried it yet myself and would like to know your experiences with it before I invest $30 for 3.5 oz. TIA.
Okay, I just did a search and found Thi's post about this. Duh! I guess I should have searched first. But, there are products at significantly different price points at the Amazon link. Can anyone share their experiences with the specific brands?
My wife and I first bought a jar of the Casina Rossa truffle salt on our honeymoon in Italy a few year ago. It is great on a lot of things, eggs, risotto, pasta.
They are now selling this brand at Williams Sonoma for around $30. I might pick up a jar when we our done with our current one.
I definitely think there's a difference between brands. I purchased mine (which I sadly broke) from the Far West Funghi shop at the Fulton Ferry Market in San Francisco. Absolutely redolent of truffles. A little went a long way. It was heavenly in mashed potatoes, potato leek soup, etc. I believe I paid about $30 for a small jar. After I broke it, I purchased one in New York -- can't remember the place but I believe it was Whole Foods. Just not the same thing. I tasted mostly salt and none of that perfumey truffle goodness.
:( I returned my Napa Style truffle salts (I'd bought several cans as gifts). I could taste the truffle, but I found it had a stale sense and another weird off flavor, almost a mechanical flavor. I doubt it was out of date, but maybe. I attribute that mechanical flavor to the ingredients, which were salt, black truffles, and truffle flavor. Truffle "flavor", used to flavor oils, is a synthetic flavor. I think it throws off the natural goodness of the real truffles in the salt. I've purchased heavenly truffle salt from other sources and Napa Style's truffle salt did not compare with the bright flavor of my other truffle salt.
Sorry, that was just my descriptor. I bought truffle salt at Gourmet Spices and Tea in Ashland, OR last fall for $7.50 for 1.5 oz. The label says it is from spiceandtea.com. The spiceandtea.com website is asking $9.50 for what seems to be the same thing.
The batch I bought has a strong truffle flavor, which is very bright; to my palate, somewhat reminiscent of garlic, but not garlic. I sent a sample to my supertaster friend for her opinion, and she said it was delicious.
Spiceandtea.com descriptor indicates "Contains: sea salt, black truffles." True, but misleading. Minute pieces of dried black truffles added for the looks only. As correctly mentioned below by RicRios, "You'll get more flavors from ... sand", since dried truffles are totally flavorless. And:
"OF COURSE there's "essence" ( read: 2,4-dithiapentane ), and that's all there is to it, besides the salt."
CD, I am not sure I can agree ~ yet.
The label on the Spiceandtea.com package and website lists only sea salt and black truffles, no mention of flavors or essences. I ~think~ they are legally required to disclose the use of flavors or essences.
But, to try to get confirmation about Spiceandtea's truffle salt, I sent an email to the "Ask Chef Donna" link asking specifically about any synthetics in the salt.
I will repost any answer I get from the company.
I'm not a fungi expert, But, personally, I don't see why well-dried truffles would necessarily taste like sand. Other dried mushrooms I've had still retained significant mushroom flavor.
Thank you, btw, for contributing an interesting discussion point.
fwiw, The Napa Style package definitely lists the addition of truffle flavor, which I think is why it tasted inferior to me. Though, conceivably, it could have just been stale.
Here is the answer from Tea And Spice saying there are no synthetics in their Truffle salt. The company, surprisingly, have offered a discount to any readers of this thread who care try it:
"Hi , thanks for your patience.
Our buying team checked with the vendor. What they said is that TSTE® Black Truffle Sea Salt “is created when solar-evaporated sea salt is combined with Italian Black Summer Truffle - a unique mushroom with intense flavors. Black Truffle is all-natural, and contains no artificial flavors or processing aids.”
-So yes, it is only truffles and sea salt, no synthetic flavors used, and the truffles, according to our research, have to be either from Italy or other parts of Europe. We are checking to see if we can get an exact location for you.
I hope this helps your discussion thread. I suspect there are plenty of lesser quality salts that claim to be “Black Truffle”, but perhaps your readers will give The Spice & Tea Exchange® Black Truffle Sea Salt, or any of our other seasonings, spices, sugars, blends and teas a try, and decide for themselves. The quality is outstanding, and translates beautifully into any dish you are preparing. If your readers are so inclined, please let them know I can extend them a 10% discount on their first order if they use coupon code “donna1”.
Again, thanks for checking in and please share our information on the discussion thread!
Warm holiday regards,
Chef Donna for The Spice & Tea Exchange"
From this NYTimes article: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/05/mag...
"For every 100 gram jar of truffle salt, they select 40 grams of black summer truffle from Abruzzi, air-dry it, crush it and combine it with Italian sea salt. The mixture does contain truffle essence, although Post and Rathet point out that it is less than half what is permitted by the Italian government. "
Please do try this: buy 40 grams of black truffles, air dry it, crush it.
You'll get more flavors from 40 grams of sand.
OF COURSE there's "essence" ( read: 2,4-dithiapentane ), and that's all there is to it, besides the salt.
Are you serious? There is a Wegmans by me that sells black truffles for around $500 a pound. By doing what you are suggesting could cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $125, nevermind the fact that someone could make a mistake during the air drying process and ruin the truffle.
Plus the New York Times made it sound like a good alternative despite the "essence." Either way, this brand has not been reviewed in this thread, but I think the people who have reviewed so far have had good success with their truffle salt.