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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Truffle Oil---Buyer Beware!

                                       Real Oil says "Truffle Infused"
Every year when I’m in Italy one of my “must have” purchases is white truffle oil.   It’s becoming increasingly difficult (and super pricey) to find out of its home region, Piedmont.  I was recently in Venice (300 miles east) and couldn’t find a single bottle.  There was plenty of black truffle oil (from Umbria, a few hundred miles south).  The black was tempting as was less then half the cost of the white, but it’s also less than half the aroma and half the taste.  I decided to pass.
When I came home I began an Internet search on white truffle oil.   I knew to avoid anything from China (yes, they're producing truffles...if you could possibly call them that---yuck!).  I discovered a plethora of both white and black truffle oils with wording such as "Truffle Essence" or "Truffle Aroma."  Mama mia…imagine my surprise when I came across an article in the New York Times talking about knock-off truffle oils.  If it says "Truffle Essence" or "Truffle Aroma" it is SYNTHETIC, made in a laboratory from chemicals that mimic the smell of the glorious tuber. 

Buyer Beware!  If you’re shopping for truffle oil be sure to carefully inspect the label to make sure it says “infused with white truffles.”  Don’t even think about labels that have “essence” or “aroma,” as their imposters made with 2,4-dithiapentane in some lab.

Wine Knows Travel is attending Piedmont’s Truffle Festival this October and I intend to load up on the real thing.  Nonetheless, I intend to eyeball every label and buy from one of the region’s reputable truffle firms.

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