Truffles can be a little expensive and can sell for as much as $30.00 USD an ounce.
Truffle oil is a modern culinary ingredient used to impart the flavor and aroma of truffles to a dish. The ingredient is commonly used as a finishing oil in a variety of dishes, including truffle fries, pasta dishes, pizzas, and puréed foods such as mashed potatoes and deviled eggs. Truffle oil is available in all seasons and relatively steady in price. It is popular with chefs, home cooks, and diners because it is significantly less expensive than fresh truffles. This has also led to a market growth in the product and an increase in the availability of truffle-flavored foods.
Truffle oil is controversial as a flavoring ingredient, as some truffle oil is artificially produced and may lack the complex flavors and aromas of fresh truffles.
Truffle oil can be produced using any oil, like the flavorless canola or grapeseed oils, however they are often made with olive oil.
Some truffle oils are made with truffle residues incurred during collection or preparation for sale. Many truffle oils sold in retail markets are not made from truffles, but instead use manufactured aromatic compounds including 2,4-dithiapentane (a prominent aroma active compound found in truffles) with an oil base. There are no regulations regarding the labeling of 2,4-dithiapentane, and it can legally be called truffle aroma, truffle flavor, truffle concentrate or other similar terms even though it is not extracted from truffles. In the United States, the ingredient may use the modifiers “organic” or “natural” as long as the components meet the federal requirements for those terms. Truffle oils range from clear to cloudy, and yellow to green, depending on the base oil used. Some include a piece of truffle in the bottle. These pieces can be from any of over 200 different truffle species, and may be listed as “black truffle” or “white truffle” even if not one of prized culinary varietals such as the black Périgord or white Alba truffle.
Preserved truffles have a long history of use, as fresh truffles are seasonal, and require proper storage and careful use in order to maintain their rich flavors.(p21) Artificial truffle oils have been produced since the 1980s, around when truffles became internationally popular.
Truffle oil is frequently used as a bait for truffle-hunting dogs and pigs. Modern Italians often use a strufion, a ball of rags scented with truffle oil. Truffle oil has been used for this purpose since at least 1756, made by boiling truffles in olive oil and given to hunting dogs
Yesterday on one of our food tours with Carlsbad Food Tours, we stopped at Vigilucci’s Gourmet Market and learned a bit about truffle oils, salts and more, it was facinating! So much to learn about with Italy cusine and Carlsbad’s own Little Italy, come and visit us on one of our tours. www.CarlsbadFoodTours.com