This one’s for you, Anthony Bourdain, because I know we feel the same way about truffle oil. Let me start by saying that there are two types of truffle oil: the GOOD kind (made with real truffles, and more truffle than oil) and the BAD kind (made with olive or grapeseed oil and a chemical called thioether, which is one of the odorants in truffles). It is the second, BAD, kind that I have a problem with. This kind of truffle oil is actually made by perfumists, and is meant to infuse the aroma of truffles to a dish….not to make the dish taste like it has truffles in it and certainly not to add good flavor!
I understand that truffles may not be for everyone. Some people think they have a very “earthy” flavor and equate the taste to something like dirt, but they are an acquired taste, and can be excellent when added to a dish properly. They are very expensive, however, and real truffle oil can cost around US$90 per ounce. In my opinion, it’s better to leave the truffle out than to douse your food in that disgusting concoction from the chemistry labs.
Celebrity chefs are constantly lambasting the synthetic truffle oil. On the cooking competition programs, whenever a wannabe chef uses truffle oil, they always comment on how bad the dish tastes and how stupid it was for the chef to use truffle oil. Gordon Ramsay, on an episode of Masterchef said synthetic truffle oil is “one of the most pungent and ridiculous ingredients ever known to chef” and “generally if you go to a restaurant and you see white truffle oil on the menu, it’s a good reason to run away.” Anthony Bourdain said “let it be stated here, unto forever and eternity, truffle oil is not food.” I’m with you Anthony, 100%!!