HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >

Discussion

Truffles that have no taste? The mushroom, I mean.

I dropped $60 on a small jar of whole truffles from Provence. I cooked pasta and shaved the truffles over the pasta with a microplaner. But they had no flavor!! WTF! Where did I go wrong?They just tasted like dirt. Where was the wonderful aroma like I experienced in truffle oil?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Bottled (eg, canned / cooked) truffles aren't worth the paper they taste of.

    1. Truffle oil doesn't really taste like fresh truffles, and the jarred stuff is crap. If you want the real deal, you need to buy fresh, and it's going to cost you a helluva lot more than $60. Also, don't bother with the inferior Oregon truffles -- they have almost no taste.

      1. Seven Hells- I guess I may be doomed then.

        1. Yeah sixty dollars for a jar of "white (most likely summer) truffles" really hurts when you get home and taste nothing. Well I wouldn't throw them out. Truffle salt is usually a nice and typically very aromatic alternative. Save the canned stuff for garnish. A really nice look in some white truffle risotto. Just be sure not to season your rice heavily at the beginning so you can finish with a nice amount of the truffle salt.

          1. Preserved truffles -- whether canned or frozen -- are always inferior to fresh. But some are quite good. If you're talking black truffles, make sure they're Périgord truffles (Tuber melanosporum) and not the more common and far less flavourful summer truffles (T. aestivum, T. unicinatum), most of which come from Italy. Reputable producers will specify the species on the jar's label.

            And note that, even when fresh, Périgord truffles are more subtle and earthier than white Alba truffles (T. magnatum).

            Nearly all white truffle oil in North America is artificially flavoured and bears only a passing resemblance to the genuine article. And since the "active ingredient" can be dosed at will, it's often overdone. Some genuine black truffle oils do make it to our side of the pond; in my limited experience of them, the best usually have a small piece of truffle in the bottle along with the oil.

            1. I had once a multi course black truffle (Perigord) dinner. Most things didn't taste much of truffle until we hit ice cream that was jacked up with an excessive amount and had truffle oil on top. The oil is a different animal but not "real truffle".

              I think I expected them to have much more flavor then they actually do since they are used so sparingly.

              1. I am a chef in China. There are truffles that grow in Yunnan that look exactly like black truffles but they are a different species that has little to no taste and none of the aromatic qualities associated with European black truffles.

                I know a few suppliers that sell tons, literally tons, to Europe which shady companies buy and either mix them with European black truffles or blatantly sell them as black truffles (Yes, they are black and yes they are truffles but they are not what everyone is looking for). I would never buy a black truffle in a can unless your supplier can guarantee that it is from Europe.

                On the other hand, if you want to buy cheap black truffles for looks...China is the place. I can get decent sized ones for 220rmb/kg or in the range of 14usd/pound. Just don't expect anything much than the looks.

                1. I am so sorry that your jar of truffle are not what they were supposed to be. If purchase your jar from a reputable company and are not satisfied, you should be able to return it for a refund. But that would require you to wait a little longer for your prize.

                  I am an Oregonian and I have to say that our truffle are not bad as some have stated. My dog is a truffle dog and we can tell you from experience that RIPE Oregon black truffles are great. No they are not as prized as the Italian or french truffles, but there are folks out there that know they some can be comparable. North American truffles that have been harvested by dogs will always be ripe and truffely since they can only smell out the ripe ones. The majority of Oregon truffle are raked up from the ground ripe or not. So it's important to know the foraging habits of the company that you purchase your truffle from. Last week I purchased two Oregon White truffles from an unfamiliar supplier in hope that they would ripen in my fridge. They never did ripen:( But the Oregon Black truffles that I purchased from the same supplier a month ago were VERY truffley and ripe. I could smell them through my bag as I walked around the farmers market:)

                  My suggestion is to by fresh truffles or to buy frozen truffles next time. Most restaurants buy frozen truffles since they can be taken right out of the fridge and grated while frozen. they use what they need and put it back in the freezer. Remember that you can not can any item with out using heat. Heat is what takes the flavor out of the truffle, so you are basically purchasing a spent product.

                  Good luck on your next purchase.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Shorteelan

                    I purchased some Oregon truffles last fall. I'd never had truffles before so had no glittering heights to compare them to. The white ones were a little disappointing but as the black one ripened it really got to smelling wonderfully earthy and sexy, I must admit. Opening \the fridge door was quite the experience for a few days, it was that strong and captivating. I tried it a few ways and finallly sj\haved it into some fresh butter and froze it. I can't even imagine how good European truffle (and Australian if they're as good) must be if the Oregon ones are so inferior. I thought they were a fabulous experience.

                    1. re: EWSflash

                      Australian truffles have been very favourably compared to European truffles (just to shamelessly plug my homeland as I do so like to do). I am fortunate enough to live close to a great truffle producing region that has exceeded all expectations in the quality of what is being produced.

                      1. re: TheHuntress

                        You're right- you're very lucky. Can I come to visit? ;-)

                        1. re: EWSflash

                          Of course! There will be perfect weather, local wine and good local food :) You can even go on a truffle hunting tour!

                  2. as mentioned, the canned ones aren't all that good at all. Frozen are a bit better. The only time canned ones are good are if you buy fresh truffles and can them yourself(like if you buy them in bulk at the peak of the season) in some Madeira. They won't have that earthiness that a fresh one does(which i'm honestly not that huge of a fan of), but they wind up actually tasting a bit like chocolate which I think is cool.

                    As for the Oregon ones, while much cheaper, I wouldn't immediately call them inferior but they're certainly a lot different. French truffles are very earthy taste almost dirty, while Oregon truffles aren't as earthy and have a much more floral flavor.