It’s white truffle season, and legendary stories abound. It was Puff Daddy who notoriously told Daniel Boulud to “shave that bitch” in reference to white truffles while dining at his restaurant. I did a little shaving myself recently when a generous friend arrived at my house with a beautiful nugget of white truffle from Alba.
But my purpose is not to gloat — it’s to set the record straight on white truffle oil. Those who know me well know it's not my favorite thing. I find the aroma to be fake and nauseating. At a recent lunch a debate ensued about whether truffle oil contains any truffles. The answer is “NO.” Most truffle oils contain a compound called 2,4-dithiapentane. And for once in my life I find myself agreeing with Gordon Ramsay, who calls truffle oil “one of the most pungent, ridiculous ingredients ever known to chefs.”
I do recognize people (not me!) love their truffle fries, but I beg chefs not to inflate the price of a dish just because the description includes the magic word “truffle.” We're not that stupid!