Monday, July 7, 2008

Truffle Oil

I do not like truffle oil. I can't help it, and I know people think I'm nuts, but I just don't like it. I spent a fall vacation in Tuscany where everything had a hint of truffle oil and I overdosed. I thought I'd get over it but, never did. I love Italian food and my culinary school was traditional French-I should love all things truffle but, I can't do it.

About a year ago, San Francisco chef Daniel Patterson wrote an article in the New York Times that made me feel a bit better. He researched, and validated, the idea that most truffle oil is synthetic, artificial and a fraud. Many times chefs use it in restaurants to raise the prices on their dishes knowing that most Americans will pay more for that overwhelming scent of what they think is truffle. I am also of the opinion that many chefs use it to mask dishes that, on their own, what be just plain bland and boring. It's not a seasoning and shouldn't be used as such. When I go to a restaurant and see four out of eight menu items 'enhanced' with truffle oil, my eyebrows instantly go up. I think it's a cheap trick.

I've had fresh truffle shaved over eggs and once over homemade pasta. It was nothing like truffle oil. It was strong but, earthy and buttery as opposed to smelling like feet (sorry, a girl is entitled to her opinion). So, buyer beware. If the next restaurant you eat at has a menu ridden with truffle oil, something just aint right.

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