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Here is a quote from Jean Georges Vongericten in an interview that he had with a Wall Street Journal Reporter,22 January 2011.
"The most overrated ingredient is truffle oil. It's like gasoline. I never use it in my restaurants. It's heavy, and it repeats on me."

I sometimes have a dish at my fav local place that uses truffle oil on it; but I have to say it is not a key ingredient, for my tastes.

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  1. It's just an ingredient -like anything else. You might like the flavor alone or combined with other flavors. If you don't like either- then I wouldn't suggest you use it.

    I like it on scrambled eggs, in a light and quick chicken and pasta supper, on crostini's with various toppings plus garlic and arugula, a little on pan potato's and onion along side a steak is nice. Many times I use a little when I don't have mushrooms but need a little "taste of earth" in something.
    Treat it like good fish sauce- if you use too much it will make your whole dish taste like rotten fish, if you use too much truffle oil- your whole dish will taste like gasoline. Cooking 101..you don't drench your food with it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: sedimental

      You said it. The other key is to find **actual** truffle oil. Made only with truffles and oil. Most of the stuff out there has chemical "enhancements" that make it smell like truffles, but also make it taste less than pleasant. I I found daRosario Organic White Truffle oil and the difference between it and the first stuff I bought was night and day.

      Sure, it helps if you **like** the whole truffle smell-taste thing...but if you do...read your labels, folks! The pure stuff is so much better. Sedimental said it best when he said to use it sparingly/caring-ly...Drizzled on a fried egg maybe? Or roasted asparagus? **Hungry**

      1. re: mzrb25

        Am with you. There is no comparison between the authentic stuff and the imposter. None. I personally love it and I love fresh truffles even more.

    2. I'm not a fan either. The smell alone is unpleasant. I actually have about six bottles gathering dust in my pantry right now.

      1. Here's an old thread on the subject. I threw mine out after this :)


        6 Replies
        1. re: c oliver

          Why throw it out? Because it's fake?

          1. re: sedimental

            Because I thought it tasted nasty.

            1. re: c oliver

              c oliver.....You reacted in the same manner as Jean Georges Vongericten; makes me like the idea of restraurant dishes laced with truffle oil even less!

              1. re: ospreycove

                I think I just needed some validation :)

                1. re: c oliver

                  Sounds like the way I feel about anchovies!
                  It is one of those things that you have to use very sparingly. I don't think I have ever had it in a restaurant dish, but if you really don't like- there is no coverin' it up!

                  1. re: c oliver

                    wow, glad to hear this. i just tasted truffle oil for the first time due to the pestering of my co-workers. i'd never tried it before because it smells horrible to me. and lo and behold, i was convinced they had added paint thinner to their garlic/parm/truffle oil french fries from the "gourmet" restaurant we'd ordered lunch from. i literally thought they were playing a joke on me as i rinsed my mouth out in the bathroom for ten minutes.

                    good riddance...

          2. After having truffle oil a few times, I was lucky enough to have real truffles shaved over a plate of pasta in Florence. Though I still found the flavor a little overwhelming, it was light years better than the oil--in fact, a different flavor altogether. Since then, I've avoided dishes topped with truffle oil since to me it simply drowns out the other flavors--and not in a good way.

            2 Replies
            1. re: escondido123

              Agree. Totally different. I bought a tiny little, Oregon truffle. The vendor's recommendation was that I use half sliced over scrambled eggs. Just heavenly.

              1. re: c oliver

                I guess the reason its used is because if its IN something(not just drizzled on something), you get a bit of that white truffle flavor, and its actually affordable, unlike purchasing white truffles. Very few restaurants can foot the bill for fresh white truffles.

            2. My SO and I just had this conversation yesterday-I like truffle oil, but only very occasionally, and only on certain things (specialty pastas, white pizzas, fries with parmesion) while he douses EVERYTHING in it-bagel and cream cheese, turkey sandwich. I actually had to move away from him while we were eating yesterday-it was way too powerful for my senses at that time. Like someone eating tuna salad with pepperochinis in bed or something.

              1. I can't stand truffle oil (or truffles). And I bear a grudge against a chef who doused my picky son's fries with truffle oil, thereby ruining a meal he'd looked forward to all day. They are FRIES, as in potatoes fried in oil. Why would you need to drizzle more oil, let alone one that tastes vaguely like a barnyard to me, on them? (Okay, stepping off rant box now.)

                And yes, I know some people love the taste of truffles.

                1. Thomas Keller uses it. I'm just sayin'.

                  2 Replies
                    1. re: ElsieB

                      Yeah, no chef is infallible. I see things in his cookbooks that make me look askance.

                  1. I like to use it in vinaigrette's, and in instances where it can add depth to a citrusy/salty dish. In my experience, the dish has to have some powerful flavors on it's own, because truffle oil cannot stand alone.

                    I would think it is similar to cliantro. It cannot be a dominant flavor, and some people hate it in all instances. I wouldn't put either on eggs.

                    As the stuff has gotten cheaper, some restaurants seem to really be laying it on thick, and adding it to dishes that are already subtle/savory.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: kevin47

                      I don't make salads that have "powerful flavors" so perhaps you're right.

                      I have no problem with cilantro being the/a dominant flavor. So perhaps truffle oil (not truffles IMO) is like cilantro. You either like it or you don't.

                    2. I don't give a shit what this guy says. I like truffle oil and that works for me.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: EWSflash

                        The one dish that I really liked was during the Tartufo nero season in Spoleto Umbria. It was a squab covered in fine Black Truffle shavings done at presentation, my wife had an omelette with the same. Most places that serve "Truffle oil French Fries" here in the U.S. it would be better to skip the oil.

                        1. re: EWSflash

                          I am with you. I use it when I make risotto - just a little to finish - mingles nicely with freshly-grated parmesan and pulls the whole thing together.

                          1. re: Minnesotapix

                            I use it rarely and sparingly on things. I have two bottles and one is three years old! When I make mac and cheese I always add truffle oil at the end. Also good on Rataouille.

                            1. re: YAYME

                              Even refrigerated, I believe that oil (it's olive oil, ya know) has far, far exceeded its shelf life.

                              1. re: c oliver

                                I asked that question last year or so they said it was still good.

                                1. re: YAYME

                                  Not sure who "they" are but the few CHs who responded didn't sound too positive.


                                  ETA: I wouldn't even keep olive oil around that long.

                        2. "we fire chefs in my kitchens who use it" - Gordon Ramsay.

                          1 Reply
                          1. used well it tastes good (to me) used poorly it sucks.

                            just like most things

                            1. I know this is an older post but am wondering about this question. How do you know if you have truffle oil made with actual truffle (or truffle essence made from actual truffle, if such a thing exists)? I've read the NYT article, and a lot of other articles about how "most" truffle oil is made with synthetic flavouring, etc. But if that's "most" and not "all" why do most articles I read then carry on to basically assume all truffle oil is fake?

                              I'm not disagreeing, just confused because not a lot is said about that small percent of truffle oil that might be made with/infused with flavouring from actual truffle. For example, I have a truffle oil the label says:

                              Royal Command Black Truffle Olive Oil
                              Product of Italy
                              Ingredients: Olive oil, black truffle essence (Tuber Magnatum Vitt). And that's all.

                              It is a small bottle, golden in colour. Very pungent but flavourful used very sparingly and occasionally. There is no mention of 2,4-Dithiapentane on the ingredient list. So - is it fake? Or is Tuber Magnatum Vitt some form of flavour that comes from actual truffles? I won't be upset if it turns out to be fake - I just want to know if it is, so I can stop using it :) ! Googling the brand and Tuber Magnatum Vitt didn't shed any light. I only found postings about how truffle oil is generally fake...

                              Agreed that even if it's real, truffle oil in my limited experience tastes nothing like real truffle. It's more sweet. Real truffles are almost... soap-like (or maybe I've only had sub-par truffles or truffles way past their prime, or served with an overly heavy hand! :) ).

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: balthazar

                                The best oils you can see bits of truffles in the bottom of the bottle. Cost be damned!

                              2. I'm am so confused now. A while back, I met a bunch of friends for dinner at the Mercer Street Kichen. I ordered the salmon dish. I remember this dish so well. There was a layer of mashed potatos with the salmon on top and over the top were sauteed leeks. The potatos were clearly flavored with truffles. Can't mistake that flavor for anything else. Now since I saw no black flecks, no black truffles and since it was incredible creamy, I assumed no white truffles blended in either and that therefor the flavoring must be truffle oil. Now I read that JG hates the stuff and won't allow it to be used in his restos. What the heck did I eat then?

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Bkeats

                                  BK....Maybe it was some chemical goodies from these folks!!


                                  1. re: Bkeats

                                    Could have been white truffles, which would visually blend into the potatoes, or even one of the real truffle oils, where the ingredients list has two items, oil, and truffles.

                                    I think the difference between the real truffle oil and the chemical stuff is probably a gulf even greater than, say, fake vanilla and real vanilla, or real raspberry vs. the imitation stuff made from beavers. Ick.

                                    Maybe Krab vs. a real, fresh crab is a good one as well?

                                    The real deal is amazing, the fake stuff? Not so much.

                                  2. Tastes like nail polish remover with a nice moldy finish.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: sandylc

                                      I find it funny that JG was quoted saying that.... two of the most popular menu items at his restaurant here in Vancovuer (Market) are the black truffle pizza and the truffle french fries. Fickle fickle! I don't get what all the fuss is about (use it/don't use it) - if you like it, use it, if you don't, don't. It's just like any other ingredient!?!

                                      1. re: meghany

                                        Fortunate enough to have been given a tiny bottle of 'the good stuff' for Christmas for the last couple of years.
                                        The other night I made HB's version of mashed potatoes.
                                        Enough to feed five adults who LOVE the recipe.
                                        I literally took an eye dropper and added two drops of the TO the potatoes. I could definitely taste the TO as a very faint back note along with a tiny amount of grated nutmeg.
                                        The tiny bottle will last me till next Christmas.

                                    2. Are we talking about truffle infused oil or imitation truffle flavor... if we're talking about the latter, I find the smell and flavor gross and similar to truffle in the way that a strawberry starburst candy is similar to a ripe, fresh strawberry.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Pookipichu

                                        My tiny bottle must be real truffle infused oil considering it's price.
                                        I've had the imitation and there's a noticeable difference for sure.

                                      2. This is interesting to me. For years, I have heard about how wonderful truffles are, yet the only time I have had truffle oil on/in a dish, I thought that the flavor was repulsive--very acrid, sharp and inconsistent with the rest of the dish. This was white truffle oil, and, until this board discussion, I had no idea that I was eating something that might not be genuine, but rather, "imitation" white truffle oil, rather than the real thing.

                                        I agree with John Georges. Maybe some day I will get to sample the real oil, and maybe even further in my future, I will get to sample an actual truffle, either black or white! (Somehow, I think that the real thing would be much different.)

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: gfr1111

                                          The only real truffle I ever had was a baby food jar of some straight from France, second hand. I think they were old and moldy; if not I guess I don't really like them! Further investigation is needed. I do love good truffle oil though, white only. But I'm sort of picky and don't buy the first one I see either.

                                          1. re: gfr1111

                                            Real truffle is extremely perishable, the flavor is rich and round, multi-dimensional, earthy delicate, almost like a harmony of fresh mushrooms that meld together into something greater. It's like the difference between vanillin and a vanilla bean. Vanillin smells like vanilla and has a sharp vanilla note, vanilla bean essence is rounder with different nuances, notes, floral sweetness, and layers.