Whether you want to drizzle on pasta, polenta, pizza or popcorn; truffle oil offers that finishing touch of luxury flavor to all of these and many other foods. Although it would be great to shave fresh white truffle on our pasta dishes, the rarity and cost of fresh truffles means that for most of us, truffle oil most definitely is the next best thing!Truffle oils are usually available as white or black and both types add a distinctive flavor to foods. In this article, we offer insight into the two different types and we also look at the truffle itself and consider just why they are so expensive to buy. As there can be considerable flavor differences across oils, we also review ten of the best to help you choose the best truffle oil.
The TruffleHunter truffle oil selection is our best pick as an introduction to truffle oils which are suitable for most diets including kosher, gluten free, vegan and nut free.
The garlicky flavored TruffleHunter white truffle oil is our budget pick for adding extra flavor and luxury to a wide range of foods.
Table of Contents
- Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Truffle Oils
- 1. TruffleHunter Truffle Oil Selection
- 2. TruffleHunter White Truffle Oil
- 3. Roland Black Truffle Oil
- 4. TruffleHunter Black & White Truffle Oil Set
- 5. Santini Black Truffle Oil
- 6. Urbani Truffles Organic White Truffle Oil
- 7. Mantova Grand Aroma Truffle Delight
- 8. Chef Jean Pierre’s White Truffle Oil
- 9. San Antonio White Truffle Oil
- 10. Terre di Tartufo White Truffle Oil
- Things to Consider Before Buying Truffle Oil
Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Truffle Oils
1. TruffleHunter Truffle Oil Selection
The TruffleHunter truffle oil selection contains three bottles of 3.38 fl. oz truffle oil; white, black and English and these come in a presentation box. For finishing dishes, these oils are suitable for most diets including gluten free, kosher, nut free and vegan.
The white truffle oil is garlicky and has a rich flavor while the black truffle oil has an earthy and intense flavor. The English truffle oil has a nutty finish with an earthy aroma and black truffle flavor. To make these oils, the truffles are shaved and blended with cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil and rapeseed oil to maintain the delicate aromas and flavors.
As well as containing truffle, these oils do contain truffle flavoring and the odd buyer considers that the taste of these is not as natural as expected. As the bottles are glass, there is also a small risk of them being damaged during shipping.
2. TruffleHunter White Truffle Oil
Coming as a 3.38 fl. oz bottle, the TruffleHunter white truffle oil is made with premium white truffles and cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). This has an intense garlic aroma with white truffle flavor and olive oil finish and is best used for finishing dishes.This oil is kosher, nut free, gluten free and vegan. It does contain truffle flavor which some consider can add an artificial flavor and aroma to the oil and it may also lack the depth of flavor expected from white truffle oil.
3. Roland Black Truffle Oil
Produced in Italy, the 3.4 fl. oz bottle of Roland black truffle oil has an earthy and intense flavor and golden color. The black truffles have been infused in extra virgin olive oil. A number of buyers have found this gluten free oil lacking in flavor and although it does contain black truffle aroma, it does not specify whether natural or synthetic. Some have also found that this oil loses truffle flavor and scent once open for a few months.
4. TruffleHunter Black & White Truffle Oil Set
Made with twice the amount of truffle than a standard oil, the concentrated TruffleHunter black & white truffle oil set comes as two 8.45 fl. oz bottles in a presentation box. These oils are kosher, gluten free, nut free and vegan. They can be used as finishing oils, but as they are concentrated oils, they can also be used in marinades and cooking; you just need to cook with gentle heat so that the truffle flavor is not destroyed.
These do contain truffle flavoring along with truffles and some buyers have found that these lack true truffle flavor and depth of flavor. As they come in glass bottles there can also be a small risk of damage during shipping.
5. Santini Black Truffle Oil
Originating in Umbria, Italy, the Santini black truffle oil comes as an 8.4 fl. oz dark glass bottle. This oil is made with extra virgin olive oil which has been infused with black truffle and is suitable for finishing dishes with. Some consider that although a black truffle oil, this does lack depth of flavor and as an imported oil, it can cost more than other truffle oils.
6. Urbani Truffles Organic White Truffle Oil
The Italian made Urbani Truffles organic white truffle oil comes as a 3.4 fl. oz bottle in a presentation pack. Made with extra virgin olive oil, this USDA certified organic truffle oil also contains pieces of white truffle and can be used as a finishing oil, or you can add a couple of drops to recipes.This does not contain any other ingredients, although a small number of buyers consider that it does have some artificial flavor to it. There can also be some problems with unsealing the cap and it may not fit back on properly once it has been opened.
7. Mantova Grand Aroma Truffle Delight
The 8.5 fl. oz bottle of Mantova Grand’Aroma Truffle Delight is made with extra virgin olive oil and black truffle and can be used in everyday dressing, dipping, marinating and even sautéing up to medium heat. This oil is produced in Italy from Italian sourced ingredients and has a robust truffle flavor with nutty and sweet undertones. This does contain truffle flavor and it is not specified as to whether this is natural or artificial and some buyers have commented that this oil can have a slightly synthetic taste.
8. Chef Jean Pierre’s White Truffle Oil
Made with white truffles which have been steeped in first press extra virgin olive oil for extended periods of time, the Chef Jean Pierre’s white truffle oil comes as a 7 fl. oz bottle. This does not contain any chemical flavoring or extracts and is made in Italy. This oil will need refrigerating to maintain its natural truffle flavor and with time, it will lose its flavor and its aroma.This bottle can arrive with a damaged seal which can cause the oil to leak and the top can be difficult to replace once the bottle has been opened.
9. San Antonio White Truffle Oil
The San Antonio white truffle oil is made with extra virgin olive oil and contains white truffle shavings. Produced in Italy, this 8.45 fl. oz bottle also contains flavoring, but does not confirm whether artificial or natural. This may have less white truffle flavor and aroma than expected when compared to more expensive white truffle oils.
10. Terre di Tartufo White Truffle Oil
Made in Italy, the 8.4 fl. oz bottle of Terr di Tatufo white truffle oil contains olive oil and pieces of white truffle to give a peppery and earthy taste. This oil also contains flavoring which may give a synthetic taste to the oil. This truffle oil can also lack aroma and depth of flavor and as a glass bottle there can be an occasional risk of breakage when shipped.
Things to Consider Before Buying Truffle Oil
It can be hard to describe the flavor of truffles and although a luxury food, they are certainly not to everybody’s taste. The unique taste often reminds people of very earthy and sometimes musky mushrooms, but with more depth and complexity. Generally, the darker the truffle, the stronger the flavor. Most white truffles have a garlicky aroma and a garlic-pepper taste, while black truffles have a deeper and earthier flavor.
Even the same species of truffle grown in different areas can have a different taste. Add to that the different soils, different host trees and the seasons that the truffles are harvested in and it becomes very easy to see why it is hard to describe the flavor of truffles.
All About Truffles
Although truffles are often referred to as mushrooms and they do belong to the fungi family like mushrooms, they are actually the fruit of fungi or more of a cross between a fungus and a tuber. Truffles can only grow underground within the roots of specific host trees such as hazelnut, oak and beech. They can grow as far as 3 ft under the ground, but never beyond the range of the branches of the tree. This symbiotic relationship allows the truffle to receive sugars from the tree and give phosphorous back to the tree.
Truffles look like lumpy tubers and they usually grow to the length of between one to four inches. There are around 70 species of truffles which are distinguished by the trees with which the truffle grows, the type of soil and the area/country where the truffle grows. Some truffles are harvested in summer while others can be found during winter.
Truffles are difficult to find. Traditionally pigs were used however they would often eat what they found so truffle hunters eventually started training dogs to sniff them out as dogs are much less likely to eat the truffles!
Truffles are also expensive because global demand and environmental changes impact upon their availability. They are also expensive because they can only be found at certain times of the year in certain places and skill is needed to find and then harvest truffles.
Truffles are often harvested at night to help keep the location secret. Once a dog has potentially found a truffle, the harvester or trufolau has to use a long handled narrow spade to dig up the truffle. The soil around the truffle has to be carefully scraped away as if the truffle is touched by hands it will begin to rot.
If the harvester finds that the truffle is not yet ripe, they must carefully rebury it to allow it to ripen for a future harvest.
Italian truffles have been harvested for thousands of years and the tartufo bianco which is the most expensive and rare white truffle is found in Italy’s norther region of Piedmont. Popular French truffles include the Périgord black truffle found in the Dordogne region and the summer black truffles which are more budget-friendly. France is the biggest truffle harvester – producing around 30 tons per year.
Truffles can also be found in some US states as new farmers are turning their hand to cultivating truffles. Growing truffles from seeds or in artificial environments have mostly been less than successful to date; it seems they need to always grow with a host tree.
Best Dishes for White or Black Truffle Oil
Most of the time it is personal preference as to which oil best suits which foods. White truffle oil with its garlicky aroma and flavor suits white meats, shellfish, rabbit and other meats which have a delicate flavor. It is also perfect for drizzling on cream cheese, eggs, pasta, risotto, polenta, salads, pizza crust or even popcorn. You can also use it as a dipping oil with crusty and warmed bread.
Black truffle oil has a stronger and earthier flavor than white truffle oil which suits stronger dishes as well as many of the dishes which pair with white truffle oil. Black truffle goes well with cooked sauces, robust meat dishes, wild mushroom dishes and even salad dressings.
Using Truffle Oil
Whatever type of oil you are using, it should always be used in small amounts. Always drizzle it instead of pouring it as too much truffle oil will easily overwhelm a dish. Most truffle oils are best suited to finishing dishes rather than cooking with and the oil should always be added at the last possible moment before serving to maintain its flavor. It is also best drizzled over dishes which contain some fat such as EVOO, cream or cheese. If too much heat is used with truffle oil it will break down its flavor.
Some truffle oils are made with extra virgin olive oil while others are made with olive oil. As the oil itself has a wide range of flavors depending on where it is produced this can impact upon the flavor of the truffle oil. An EVOO can sometimes be a little strong in truffle oil although it can be selected deliberately to hide any synthetic flavors or aromas added.
Truffle oil should be stored on a cool dark place with its cap tightly sealed to reduce aroma and flavor degradation. Some manufacturers may advise that the oil be refrigerated after opening.
About Truffle Flavoring
Although some truffle oil does contain truffle pieces these are usually for visual appearance rather than flavor. As well as containing natural truffle, truffle oil often contains truffle flavoring, aroma or essence. These are usually synthetic.
Truffle oil is made from 2,4-Dithiapentane, an organic compound which has the same scent as truffles mixed with olive oil. This flavoring often lacks the subtleness of fresh truffle.
Truffles truly are a luxury food and although difficult and expensive to obtain fresh in the US, truffle oil is a great substitute for finishing dishes or in some cases adding to food during cooking. Truffle oils can vary greatly in taste for many reasons, so if you are new to truffle oils, you may want to experiment with different ones until you find the combination of truffle flavor and olive oils that suit your cooking best.We hope that you have enjoyed our dig into the fascinating world of truffles. We also hope that our reviews of some of the best truffle oil have been helpful to you in selecting the oil which will add some pizzazz to your pizza or raise the grade on your risotto.