Black truffles have unique and sophisticated flavor that adds a sublime note to just about any food. That’s why black truffles are a prestigious, sought-after ingredient in the most elite culinary circles. Unfortunately, they are very difficult to acquire, being rare, highly seasonal, and having only a very short shelf life – the savory flavor of black truffles loses its potency in as little as a few weeks after harvesting.
This combination of distinct flavor, scarcity, versatility, and prestige make it not only a renowned and highly prized ingredient, but a very expensive one as well. Indeed, they are one of the most expensive food items on earth, with certain kinds of truffles fetching up to $2000 per pound. But while that clearly puts black truffles out of reach of most home cooks and even professional chefs, there is a way to get that same flavor in your kitchen – by using quality black truffle oil from reputable suppliers like Giorgio Truffle Shop.
Black truffles have an earthy, pungent, mushroom-like flavor. The best truffle oils use only natural ingredients, infusing the flavor compounds of black truffles into an oil base, usually an extra virgin olive oil, which lends its own subtle note of flavor beneath that of the truffle. Such truffle oils offer the real taste of authentic fresh truffles, but in a form which will last longer in your kitchen pantry and still be within the budget of most chefs and home cooks. And these oils are available online, making black truffle oil even more available to those wanting real truffle flavor.
The flavor of fresh truffles fades so quickly because the flavor compounds are highly volatile. For that reason, it’s important to remember that truffle oil shouldn’t be heated, as exposure to heat will cause the flavor to quickly dissipate. Instead, black truffle oil should be used as a finishing oil, with just a drizzle or a few drops added to cooked foods just before serving. This allows the warmth of the food to activate the aroma and flavor of the truffle oil without overheating.
Black truffle oil is commonly used in dishes with delicate flavors like pasta or risotto or added to fresh cheese. The flavor of black truffles pairs well with eggs, poultry, shellfish, as well as with cooked meets like beef, pork, or venison. Black truffle oil is also a wonderful addition to sauces and can be added to dishes at the end of cooking so long as you are careful not to overheat the oil. Bear in mind that black truffle oil has an intense flavor, so be careful to use it sparingly so as not to overwhelm the flavor of your dishes.
Fresh truffles offer a wonderful flavor and aroma, but their scarcity and short shelf life make acquiring them challenging. Fortunately, that flavor can still be enjoyed with black truffle oil which can be found in most specialty food stores and high-end groceries, as well as online stores. However, not all truffle oils are the same, so check to make sure a truffle oil is made from natural ingredients.
Truffle oils with words like “truffle aroma”, “essence”, or “flav” in the name should be avoided. Truffle oils are best obtained from a supplier who produces them in small batches using only natural ingredients, such as Giorgio Truffle Shop. And they offer black truffle oil in bulk quantities for an even better value.