Whole truffles, truffle oils, truffle carpaccio, truffle crema, truffle juice, pesto with truffles, all from Poddi Tartufi in Umbria, Italy.
Poddi are truffle growers who produce a little truffle oil each year. They use extra virgin olive oil and their own truffle extract to flavour the dish.
There are a lot of myths and plenty of misinformation about truffles. Here is my take on things...
Buying and usage tips -
Whole truffles in a jar or tin.
1. Fresh truffles are best and are in a world of their own at $2500 plus a kg.
2. Jarred and canned varieties are affordable, obtainable alternatives to fresh truffles.
3. Preserved Winter truffles (preferably Perigord variety) are best. They are also the most expensive.
I don't import these because.....
4. High quality preserved Summer truffles are almost as good....and they're half the price.
Myth - they're all synthetic rubbish. (Normally said by a food snob, or someone trying to sell you fresh truffles.)
If this is true, then why do MOST of the world's top chefs use them?
1. Look for the words 'Extra Virgin Olive Oil' on the bottle. Anything else is probably grape seed or cotton seed oil which breaks down and degrades more rapidly once the bottle is opened.
2. Unless you're mad keen on truffle oil, only buy the small bottles so you can use the entire bottle while it's still at it's pungent best.
3. If you love the musky character of truffle oil buy the WHITE truffle oil. If prefer a more subdued, earthy character, buy the BLACK oil.
4. Be careful. You can have too much of a good thing - good truffle oil is like Marmite - too much ruins the dish.
5. A slice of truffle in a truffle oil bottle means little as it is merely window dressing. The oil producer is the more important factor.
6. If you don't recognise the brand ask to smell or taste the oil. Supermarkets won't allow this but good specialty food stores should.