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Yet another disappointing truffle experience ...

c
CocoTO Oct 21, 2011 12:01 PM

Went to Tutti Matti last night with a group of friends and, for the record, with the exception of the disappointing truffles which this note is about, the food was great.

But here's the thing (and it's not the first time it has happened to me in North America) ... the plate of white truffle pasta was put in front of me and ...... no fragrance! There were five of us at the table who had either the white or black truffle pasta specials and ..... no fragrance! Is it that truffles just can't travel well ... with what one pays for them they should be flying business class, but it seems they arrive on our shores with little or no essence. I've bought truffles at Cheese Boutique in past years with the same outcome. Such a disappointment, particularly since I've just returned from Tuscany where, when they bring your truffle plate to the table, the essence is so beautifully intense.

Have I had a string of bad luck with my truffle orders, or do others find the same thing? I'm about to give up on truffles on this side of the Atlantic ...

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Tutti Matti
364 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V1R7, CA

Cheese Boutique
45 Ripley Ave, Toronto, ON M6S, CA

  1. Charles Yu Oct 22, 2011 07:19 PM

    Time spent during transit resulting in Truffles loosing its essence/fragrance?!! Uuummm??! That's a first for me?!
    I have had Truffle meals in Hong Kong as well as one in the Michelin 3* Robuchon a Galera in Macau (with the master at the helm of the kitchen) and each time the aroma and fragrance was very pronounced! Robuchon's Tarte fin aux Truffle was especially mind blowing!! The Hong Kong ones were white ones from Italy and the Macau ones were black from France. I'm sure those morsels spend more time in the air travelling from Europe to the Orient than our Toronto ones?!
    Very strange indeed!!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Charles Yu
      e
      EarlyDrive Oct 22, 2011 07:39 PM

      Was sitting at the bar at Splendido last night -- another customer beside me was having the truffle tasting menu (also at the bar) -- all courses with black truffles (including dessert). The fragrance was incredible!! One memorable (looking) course: a single-serving smoking hot empty cast iron pan was brought out on a small board. The diner put the dish together -- first truffle butter (the fragrance!), then an egg, then a thin slice of some cured pork, and then minced truffles and something else poured on top. Looked fantastic. The diner reported each course to be excellent.

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      Splendido
      88 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1G5, CA

    2. miketoronto Oct 22, 2011 10:09 AM

      Couldn't agree more about truffles in Toronto. I've never had one that tastes like anything as it's described, making it a huge waste of money. I've had much more success using a good truffle oil.

      1. y
        ylsf Oct 22, 2011 07:01 AM

        Anyone tried the fall Truffle menu at Splendido yet?

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        Splendido
        88 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1G5, CA

        1. u
          ukers Oct 21, 2011 06:38 PM

          It seems difficult to find highly aromatic truffles around here, and even in Europe these days. There are several species of truffles, some more aromatic than others. Summer truffles typically are less aromatic. Also, even within the same species, location can dictate the degree of aroma. Finally, if gathered outside of the prime season, autumn to fall, they may also be less aromatic. Sometimes a less fragrant truffle is doused with the oil of a more fragrant truffle.

          Truffle oil can be made with real truffles, but often it is synthetic as stated by another poster. Synthetic truffle oil is far less complex in flavour.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ukers
            e
            erly Oct 22, 2011 06:17 AM

            I visited a Truffle Farm last year, and they pride themselves on making natural Truffle Oil.
            They use only the Shells, no Truffle.
            I can't understand why the Truffles are so tasteless in this City.
            Out of Season, many European Chefs use Spanish Truffles, which are very aromatic.

          2. Googs Oct 21, 2011 03:22 PM

            I have no knowledge of these truffles in particular. I would be inclined to question to provenance of them though.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Googs
              c
              CocoTO Oct 21, 2011 06:03 PM

              ... that may be the case, Googs ... which would mean I would be questioning the provenance of almost every truffle I've had in Toronto ... this was not my first time being grossly disappointed. I'm really starting to lean to the thinking that many of the truffles that end up here are travel worn ..

            2. j
              JennaBean Oct 21, 2011 02:28 PM

              I really love Tutti Matti so I'm glad that you enjoyed the rest of your meal.

              It is my understand (but I'm not a truffle person myself) that truffle actually loses it smell quickly and that's why it is best if the it is added to the dish table-side.

              That being said, truffle oil apparently holds it smell much better and is often used to augment the smell of dishes where the truffle is applied in the kitchen to reinforce the truffle experience for the customer.

              Maybe this isn't really the case but it was what I was told by someone in food who I have a great respect for.

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              Tutti Matti
              364 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V1R7, CA

              5 Replies
              1. re: JennaBean
                1sweetpea Oct 21, 2011 03:17 PM

                I shared an order of risotto with aged Parmigiano Reggiano and shaved white truffle with 6 co-diners at Aria recently. The risotto was cooked perfectly al dente and was quite tasty, but I too found the truffle flavour to be muted, despite the fact that the truffles were shaved at our table immediately before serving. I was a bit grumpy that my portion didn't have more truffles, since others' did, but even upon biting into a truffle shaving, I didn't get a burst of truffle flavour, which I was eagerly anticipating.

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                Aria Restaurant
                25 York St, Toronto, ON , CA

                1. re: JennaBean
                  jayt90 Oct 21, 2011 03:50 PM

                  truffle oil is man made, synthetic, and one dimensional, like artificial vanilla.

                  1. re: jayt90
                    Wahooty Oct 21, 2011 04:53 PM

                    Not necessarily true. I have a truffle oil where the ingredients read:

                    Extra virgin olive oil, white truffles.

                    And, while it may not taste as good as ACTUAL truffles, it is a hell of a lot more complex, delicious, and aromatic than the ones that contain the chemical truffle flavor. There are actually quality products out there if you're paying attention.

                    1. re: jayt90
                      atomeyes Oct 22, 2011 06:06 AM

                      wrong, sir.

                      just like you can get real vanilla extract vs synthetic, its the same w/truffle oil.

                      unless they are liars, the truffle oils from Cheese Boutique are made with truffles and zero fake flavour

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                      Cheese Boutique
                      45 Ripley Ave, Toronto, ON M6S, CA

                      1. re: atomeyes
                        jayt90 Oct 22, 2011 05:27 PM

                        I might be wrong in not including the natural truffle oil, but there will be hundreds of users checking their pantry, and looking at the ingredient list.

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