Truffle Oil: Pick a Side

Like cilantro and raw oysters, truffle oil polarizing. You either love it or hate it. If you have never had it, my suggestion to you is head out to your local gourmet pizza shop, and order a funghi pie with truffle oil. Then pick a side.

Shroomtown pie from Spunto. 65 Carmine Street, West Village, NYC

Not surprisingly, truffle oil hardly ever comes from actual truffles. Not only are they extremely expensive, it is nearly impossible to make an oil from this type of mushroom. Have you ever heard of mushroom oil? Didn’t think so. Truffle oils are created using chemically-based scents much like you would use to make perfumes or other artificially flavored items. These scents are intended to mimic the the intense aroma of truffles.

There are several different types of truffles, the two most notable being the white and black. The white truffle comes from the northern Piedmont region in Italy, while the black truffle hails from France. Why are these tiny balls of fungus so expensive you ask? The reason is because all truffles grown in a symbiotic relationship with certain types of trees. These trees are native to specific regions and only grow in certain soil types. Truffles need these tress to reproduce and it is very difficult to transplant these trees to different regions. Because of this, truffles are very rare and expensive. Here in America, it is especially difficult to find and expensive to buy these truffles because the French and Italians keep their respective truffles under close guard. For now,  most Americans have to settle for truffle oils until we can find away to bring those trees west.  Trust me, truffle oils are still delicious. Enjoy!