Truffles have earned a high place in the culinary world due to them being rare to find as well as expensive. Therefore, truffle oils can provide a convenient and affordable alternative to those who want the flavour of truffles in their dishes without breaking the bank.
White and black truffle oils are two popular varieties of truffle oil. The two have significant differences in terms of their origins, flavour profiles, extraction processes, usage in the kitchen, etc.
Let us look at the differences and similarities between white and black truffle oil in order to truly gain a comprehensive understanding of how incorporating either oil can transform the overall dining experience.
What is a truffle?
To understand the differences between truffle oils, it is important to know what truffle is first. Truffles are the fruiting bodies of a kind of fungus which normally grow underground in different forests. They are small and asymmetrical in shape. Most truffles can be found close to tree roots underground.
Interestingly, truffles are known to have pheromones that attract many animals. This is why female pigs were used to hunt truffles for a long time.
Many varieties of truffles are estimated greatly in the kitchen for their distinct earthy taste and smell, so much so, that they have been called “the diamond of the kitchen”. They hold a special place in Italian and French cuisine, where they are widely celebrated and used to enhance the flavours of many dishes.
What is truffle oil?
Truffle oil is essentially a premium-grade extra virgin olive oil that has been infused with the delightful essence of white or black truffles. In the past, the process of making truffle oil involved immersing sliced truffles directly into the olive oil for an extended period. However, with truffles becoming increasingly scarce and costly in recent times, the majority of truffle oils available today rely on synthetic truffle flavourings.
While natural truffle oils are still crafted, they come with a heftier price tag, and rightfully so.
The truffle oils made with organic truffles offer a much more delicious and well-rounded flavour compared to the ones made with artificial ingredients.
Black truffle oil
Truffle oil made from black truffles is known as black truffle oil. Black truffles are the most common type of truffle out there. Black truffles are usually grown in truffle farms and are easier to find than white truffles. They can be used simultaneously in gourmet dishes as well as casual dishes.
Originally native to Southern Europe, black truffles have a more intense flavour profile that only gets intensified when cooked and heated. In terms of usage, black truffle pairs well with red meat.
Also, truffle oils are meant to be used as finishing oils rather than cooking oils which are heated up. Black truffle oil has a rich, pungent, earthy, buttery and almost chocolate-like taste to it. Therefore, it will work great with Kobe beef dishes, other roasted meat dishes, cheesy pasta dishes, rice, pizza, and dips.
White truffle oil
As you might have inferred already, white truffle oils are premium-grade olive oils infused with organic white truffles or synthetic white truffle flavourings.
Now, if black truffles are rare, white truffles are even much rarer to find. Therefore, naturally white truffle oils are even more expensive than black truffle oils. White truffles are known for their cream/light brown exterior and light, delicate, and nuanced flavour profile. They are often used sparingly and shaved over dishes like pasta, risotto, eggs, etc to enhance their taste with earthy notes and hints of garlic, honey, and wild mushrooms.
White truffle oils are normally used for the purpose of dispersing milder truffle taste in the dishes. It possesses a delicate flavour profile that should never be used as cooking oil, as the heat can diminish its distinctive taste.
Instead, it is intended to be used exclusively as a finishing oil, ideal for drizzling over dishes such as pasta, risotto, or light white-fleshed fish. This way, the oil can impart its exquisite flavours as a final touch, enhancing the overall culinary experience.
Similarities between white and black truffle oil
Similarities between white and black truffle oil include their base oil, versatile usage, ability to enhance flavour, etc.
Well, the making process of the two kinds is virtually the same. Both truffle oils are made by using olive oil that is later infused with the flavour of truffles. This process allows the oils to capture the distinctive aromas and tastes associated with truffles.
Next, both white and black truffle oils can be used in a myriad of ways in different dishes. They can be used in pasta dishes, pizzas, dips, salads, sauces, dressings and even in fish, chicken meat or red meat.
Also, white truffle oil and black truffle oil are primarily used as finishing oils to enhance the taste of the dishes. They can introduce depth and nuance of earthy, rich, nutty, garlicky flavours to the dishes.
Differences between white and black truffle oil
Of course, there are significant differences between white and black truffle oils, which is why they are not used interchangeably. They primarily differ in terms of flavour profile, smell, intensity, availability, etc.
Let us start with the flavour. White truffle oil brings a delicate and nuanced taste to the table, with subtle notes of honey and earthy wild mushrooms. On the flip side, black truffle oil boasts a bolder and more pronounced flavour, offering a rich earthiness accompanied by hints of chocolate and nutty undertones.
Secondly, When it comes to smell, black truffle oil commands attention with its intense and pungent scent, delivering an earthy punch that can nott be ignored. On the other hand, white truffle oil presents a lighter and more subtle aroma, creating a gentle and musky ambience.
Once again, another difference occurs in terms of their availability. As we know, truffles are very rare to find to begin with. On top of that, white truffles are even rarer than black truffles. As a direct consequence of that, white truffle oils are also rarer and more expensive than black truffle oils.
Which one should you use in your cooking?
Well, based on the discussion above, these distinctive qualities make it clear that white and black truffle oils serve different purposes in the kitchen. You should, therefore, choose the truffle oil that you need to use in your cooking based on your desired flavour profiles and availability.
In conclusion, black and white truffle oil are two kinds of truffle oils made from black truffle and white truffle respectively. Both have their own set of distinct qualities to them that make them popular options in kitchens all over the world. If you are someone who is interested in trying out new and different flavours, you should definitely give either of them a go!