White truffle oil: Are all brands created equal? [Moved from Home Cooking board]
I am anxious to try a recipe that calls for white truffle oil. Since it is a pricey ingredient, I would like to make sure I get a good brand. Any thoughts on it? I will probably shop at Whole Foods. Thanks!
All ( and I mean: ALL, no exceptions ) truffle oils currently in the American market consist of two, eventually three, basic ingredients:
b) chemical essence
c) optional, and just for the looks: a piece of truffle
Based on the quality of a) and b) components, you can go all the way from awful to mediocre to slightly better. Brand names don't mean much. In particular Urbani, much touted as "da best", is just another bulk producer.
And now the good news: fairly recently ( last 6 months or so ) CERTIFIED ORGANIC truffle oil has started to appear in the Italian market. The organic certification here is crucial, since it precludes the use of any chemical additives. Flavor is infused directly from fresh truffles into the oil by some "secret" process ( which is not hard to figure out...). I assume that some of these organic truffle oils will start appearing in the American market before the end of the year. No idea under which brand though, but be on the lookout for the organic label.
About your GOOD NEWS :
Are you sure that " The organic certification here is crucial, since it precludes the use of any chemical additives " ??
small quantity of Truffle Flavour seems to be authorized... as:
I ANALIZED one bottle of FDA ORGANIC Truffle Oil
but I found something not natural... maybe its a mistake, but it would be interesting to investigate...
To my knowledge the only brand that is somewhat natural is the Da Rosario, but i don't think it has nearly the same kick as the completely synthetic oils. why would it?
So the real question is, why use truffle oil? With the exception of any natural kind that likely over a $100 a bottle. It tastes vaguely like truffles for the same reason that a McDonalds chicken nugget tastes vaguely like chicken. I was fooled for a long time until I read the NY Times article on this topic. Now I see no point. I also think it is a crime how much is charged for these chemicals in a jar.
re: Elizabeth Rothman
there is a difference between ORGANIC and NATURAL.
At the moment there are not NATURAL TRUFFLE OIL on the market ( if yes, I would like to know if the word NATURAL is declared on the label, or just during the advertising).
ORGANIC is a different thing : it means that you have to use Organic Oil & Organic truffle pieces.
The FDA allows a small % of synthetic Truffle Flavour ALSO in the Organic products.
That is something that in Italy is not permitted.
So, what in US is considered organic, in other Countries (i.e. Italy) is not.
As the % of truffle flavour is small, also the taste is very light (comparing with other truffle oils).
By my side, Truffle Oil is not a problem, I buy truffle oil here in US , and I use few drops / week.
The problem are the flavours in "biscuits", "drinks", "candies" etc... that we eat/drink every day !!!