Truffles are one of the world's most complex and mysterious foods. Truly exceptional truffles (almost all of which from Italy) are costly, perishable and hard to find, but truffle oil captures the essence of Italy's best truffles without the expense.
This truffle seasoning, made with extra virgin olive oil and a slice of real white truffle, is a flavorful enhancement for steak, pasta, fried eggs, mushroom dishes and cheese.
This olive oil is infused with the exotic flavor of white truffles sometimes know as the "fruit of the woods" and comes in small bottles because a little of its very strong truffle flavor goes a long way.
A few drops of the truffle olive oil will give the final touch of class to an unforgettable dish. Drizzled over a sliced loaf of warmed bread, it makes an unusual, deeply flavored variation of garlic bread.
It is an excellent ingredient of the "primit piatti" or first course, particularly with risotto, pasta and fish dishes or just pour a few drops on a simple salad. Truffle oil is often poured at the table, so that the full aroma can escape and do its thing on your guest.
A truffle is a fungus that grows 3-12 inches below the ground at the base of certain trees and can only be located by pigs or dogs. Of the nearly 70 known varieties, the most desirable are black truffles (often from Umbria) and white truffles (from Piemonte). Fresh truffles are generally available from late fall to midwinter.
You will find many varieties of truffle infused oil including Black Truffle Oil, White Truffle Oil, Concentrated Truffle Oil, French, Italian from various producers. The Italian truffles are the best known, but the French Perigord Truffle also called Winter Black Truffle are exquisite.
Truffle oils are generally not used in cooking, as the heat adulterates their flavors. Instead, they are added after a dish is prepared or used in salads and other cold dishes. You can add small amounts to soups, stews or sautes to add an additional layer of flavor.
Truffle oil is often poured at the table, so that the full aroma can escape and do its thing on your guest.
If you have a high end gourmet speciality store near you, ask to sample the different brands they carry to decide which fits your tastes. If not, here are a couple of reputable online sites that carry various truffle products: