I love the flavour of Truffles, and for many years I used Truffle flavoured oil to jazz up my dishes. Not the keyword there, 'flavoured'. The oil I was actually using didn't actually contain any real truffle.
That changed recently when I decided to splash out, and instead of spending 5 quid on the artificial stuff, to spend a bit more on the real thing, buying Tartufalba White Truffle Oil for £22 for a 250ml bottle. Produced in Alba, Northern Italy, this oil contains 1.5 % white truffle in quality Italian olive oil. It arrived wonderfully packaged, rather like an expensive liqueur, in a lovely thick glass bottle inside a smart black box. Whereas with booze I might have been tempted to throw the box away, with this oil it actually serves a purpose - too much exposure to heat and light will alter the flavour of the oil, so the box helps to keep it cool and dark when not in use.
This isn't an oil you'd use for frying food-it really isn't terribly effective for that, and it would just be a waste of money. This is more of a drizzler and a dipper. A few drops of this stirred onto cooked fresh pasta, and sprinkled with a tiny bit of parmesan cheese, and you've got a tasty meal in minutes that doesn't cost the earth. A drop or two onto hot scrambled eggs, brushed onto grilled meats, or drizzled on toasted ciabatta and you've elevated the most basic of ingredients into something that tastes, and smells wonderful. This is one of the reasons I was able to justify the expense - it helps turn cheap ingredients into something that feels a little luxurious.
It's quite hard to describe the smell and taste of white truffle. When doing so with friends, I often use the phrase 'It just smells like sex'. It sounds odd, but honestly, it's the truth - in fact, (according to the New York Times) it smells (apparently) like pig sex in particular. Truffles excrete the same smell as a boars testicles, a smell that horny sows can detect easily, and which prompts them to 'assume the position' when truffles are detected. I've not smelled a boars testicles personally, and don't particularly desire to, but there is definitely something in the smell that is sort of musky, slightly sweaty, and not dissimilar to the smell of warm skin after physical exertions. There is also a sort of earthy garlic undertone to the whole scent.
In terms of taste, there is a mild sort of garlic flavour, and again a hint of something almost sweaty - it sounds like it should be horrible, but it really does taste wonderful, and I'm in full agreement with the people that claim Truffles to be a powerful aphrodisiac - the smell and flavour definitely have an effect on me!
I love the flavour and smell of truffle oil, and considering that a few drops on your meal is all you need to get the full effect, a bottle of this size can last me around six months. It helps elevate even the cheapest, most basic ingredients into a meal that feels like a luxurious treat, and a mere sniff of the bottle puts me into an amorous mood!
5 stars - makes all meals sexy!
Produced in Alba, Northern Italy An intense full flavoured truffle oil Use to add intense flavour to vinaigrettes, risottos, pasta dishes, soups and salads