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How do truffles taste?


AzRaeL
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Black truffles taste like money, because when you manage to sample a few shavings, you break into a sweat when you realize exactly how much you're going to be set back once you ask for the check. :blink:

White truffles taste like sex -- well, let's put it this way -- they taste like the best sex you've ever had, if sex could be thought of as food and experienced by just about anyone imaginable. :biggrin: The aroma alone is worth the price of admission.

Whatever one may think of truffles, and whether one happens to like or dislike them, I think that there are very few things on this Earth such as truffles that make people have such visceral reactions as what's been spoken of them on this thread.

Soba

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Whatever one may think of truffles, and whether one happens to like or dislike them, I think that there are very few things on this Earth such as truffles that make people have such visceral reactions as what's been spoken of them on this thread.

Soba

There's a fruit called a Durian which seems to provoke similar reactions.

Do not expect INTJs to actually care about how you view them. They already know that they are arrogant bastards with a morbid sense of humor. Telling them the obvious accomplishes nothing.

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I've not really had a chance to try truffles in their native form. I'm looking forward to the Black Truffle Ravioli at Trio in two weeks for my first chance to get to identify the taste mostly on its own.

But... I've had dishes and sauces that included truffles, and the big difference seems to be that they add a depth and complexity that you just can't get from anything else.

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
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A few years ago I visited Seattle, and, on the advice of a chef friend here in San Francisco, stopped off the morning of my return flight at an Italian deli adjacent to Pike's Market (forget the name of the place) and got a fresh ("arrived this morning by jet from Italy!") black truffle which was sold to me packed in arborio rice.

That evening back in SF my chef friend and I made a truffle risotto... unbelievably good! The entire house filled with the heady aroma, and the flavor was ineffable. I've had shaved white truffles a couple of times, and their flavor is even more divine. The oil adds a depth and richness to many ordinary foods.

On the other hand, I despise chocolate.

Cheers,

Squeat

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<<i think a few chefs in the US would disagree with you.>>

They probably would Tommy - but when I have reason to believe that a certain food item doesn't "travel well" - I'd rather stick with the local stuff. Whatever it happens to be. Robyn

Assuming local truffles are in season in the place where I am at the time, I always stick with the local stuff.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Some folks think sweaty is sexy, some folks just find it offensive.

It depends on how you work up the sweat.

I didn't fully "get" truffles until I had the White Truffle Risotto at French Laundry two weeks ago. They brought the risotto to the table accompanied by a box which they opened under your nose. One whiff of the monster White Truffle in the box made me realize this might come close to being worth the $40 supplement (of course at TFL that's like leaving your change in the "Jerry's Kids" jar at 7-Eleven.)

Our risotto was then covered with a thick layer of shavings. I can't say how much it added to the taste of the dish, but the aroma it contributed couldn't be matched.

Bill Russell

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One thing no one has gotten into is the visceral reaction we have to truffles.  . . .

There's definitely some kind of musky pheremonal thing going on.

Oh yes someone did

I actually don't think truffles have much flavor whatsoever. But the aroma: pure pheromones! Pant, pant. 

My feelings are hurt that you missed my post, but you can make it up by feeding me some truffles. :cool:

One of the "problems" with truffles -- well, truffle oil, anyway -- is that there CAN be too much of a good thing. In truffle oil use, as in sex, subtlety is all.

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Sigh. I had my first white truffles this year, and I'm starting to conclude that I just don't have the nose for truffles. The white truffles just didn't taste all that much different from the black truffles I've had, and though I really like black truffles I don't find them very different from wild mushrooms (which I love).

I'll continue trying them, of course, but I know I'm missing something.

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I've always had trouble coaxing significant taste and smell out of white truffles, too. I wonder if there's some technique I'm just not getting. I love the black things though, and since they're running about 1/5 the cost of white truffles, I don't worry about my white truffle troubles too much.

I find that gently warming them somehow or other, significantly helps, but I'm curious to see of one of the more experienced trufflers on the board have any hints on how to maximize performance.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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truffles don't travel. that's a very general overstatement. but more times than not its true. it's rare that i've had truffles in this country that really perfume the room the way they should. in fact, i think that if i was to judge the truffle from all but a very few meals in america, i'd probably be part of the "what's the deal" crowd.

my first true truffle experience was going to Alba in the late fall. It's very cold there, in the mountains, and in the little town there's one main street. when you walk down that street and a door opens to a store, a cloud of steam comes out. from a half-block away, youcan tell which stores sell white truffles because the smell carries so far.

am i the only one who notices a consistent bottom note from garlic to truffles? i also get the smell in well-cooked cauliflower (and a whiff of it in cabbage). i haven't done the home work, but i'm betting they're related sulfurous compounds. in fact, the current foodie prejudice is an abhorence of white truffle oil, which except for rare examples is made from a petroleum distillate. in part, this is a sensible reaction to the way careless cooks have drenched food with it. it needs to be used with the utmost discretion. partly, it's just another way to one-up the hoi-polloi. i do remember buying truffle oil at the fair in alba 10 or 15 years ago and cherishing it. i love to make a spreadable mousse with white beans and walnuts and just a dab of truffle oil. put that on warm toast just as people are arriving ... hoo boy. furthermore, t keller uses truffle oil in several dishes at the french laundry and if there's one person i won't argue with it's him.

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It took me a long time to understand the attraction of truffles. I had gotten shaved truffle on my tournedos or pasta in the past, but it had never made a distinct impression. I had bought jarred or canned truffles a couple of times, but quickly concluded that buying them is a waste of time (they definitely taste like dirt.)

Finally, earlier this year, my wife and I ate at Charlie Trotter's. One of the dishes was a potato salad made with purple potatoes and white truffles. When they put the dish down, the smell nearly knocked me over. It was so amazing that I hated to eat the dish (of course, I did, and it was delicious).

Since that time, I started using truffle oil and, while I certainly don't use it like ketchup, it has definitely been a welcome addition to my cupboard. My wife loves to have it drizzled over haricot verts or peas. The key seems to be to use it sparingly. A few drops is enough for several servings. Any more than that is too overpowering and if I consume too much it doesn't agree with my stomach. To me, smelling it from the bottle does not make it more appealling (too strong), but a few drops on a dish gives a nice, though distinct, odor.

"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

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Here's a New Age explanation...

When I give food seminars, I serve a rocket salad with a truffle oil vinaigrette. Before I allow my guests to eat the salad, I have them close their eyes and smell it first.

Most people will feel a tingling sensation just above the center of their eyes. This is known as the Crown Chakra.

I belive part of the mystique of truffles is that it opens the crown chakra and makes one more aware and adept because when that tingle occurs, there is a vibrancy to one's inner being.

Many utilize meditation and other religious means to obtain this feeling.

I use truffles.

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I'd disagree that the chinese truffles are aromaless -- however I think one should no less than the usual caution when purchasing them. I occasionally see them at my grocery for around $5 for a walnut sized truffle. I'll agree its no perigord truffle, but at the same time it does add a nice flavor to a risotto or sliced and placed under the skin of a chicken for roasting.

Let your nose be the judge -- if it has the right aroma, you'll know it.

Hal

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I love the black things though, and since they're running about 1/5 the cost of white truffles, I don't worry about my white truffle troubles too much.

I didn't know that! I would have thought that the black ones would be more expensive but I don't know why I think that. Why would that be true?

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Good point about the Chinese truffles (don't they call them Himalayan truffles?). I would almost say the same for the Black Summer Truffles, which are inferior to the Winter ones in aroma and flavor. I haven't had Oregon truffles, but I would avoid them as well.

In addition to truffle oil, truffle flour is another interesting way to incorporate truffle flavor for relatively less money. Also, in January and February, a lot of top restaurants offer truffle menus. This is an excellent way to experience truffles.

Edited by mikeycook (log)

"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

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I love the black things though, and since they're running about 1/5 the cost of white truffles, I don't worry about my white truffle troubles too much.

I didn't know that! I would have thought that the black ones would be more expensive but I don't know why I think that. Why would that be true?

Just supply and demand, I guess. The white truffles do have a better reputation amongst afficionados than black truffles, so demand may be higher. Also I believe that the growing are for black truffles is much larger.

At Dean & DeLuca in DC -- not the cheapest place to get them, I'm sure -- white truffles were $300 an doz, black truffles $64.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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am i the only one who notices a consistent bottom note from garlic to truffles?

I notice garlic too. If you could take out the oniony sharpness, the earthy sweet aroma that would be left over in garlic seems a lot like truffles.

I love em. I've only had them a few times, but I have bought the oil and enjoyed a little of that in risotto or even scrambled eggs.

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks to Mrs Woman, there is a link to pre-ordering Fergus Henderson's book on Amazon. I have to say, though, that I'm disappointed it will be coming out in the U.S. as a paperback.

I do not like to cook from paperback books. They're all right to read, but impossible to work from. I prefer hard cover for real cooking.

What say all of you?

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paperbacks. that way, when you're reading them in bed and you fall asleep, you don't kill your other half as the book slips out of your nerveless grasp and onto his/her windpipe.

Fi Kirkpatrick

tofu fi fie pho fum

"Your avatar shoes look like Marge Simpson's hair." - therese

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