Monthly Archives: February 2014

Is there really no truffle in truffle oil?

image source - flickr.com/photos/bluumwezi
image source – flickr.com/photos/bluumwezi

In most cases, yes.

Truffle oil has gotten quite a bad rap as of late. More than once I’ve seen contestants on popular cooking competition shows immediately sent home for using it. Anthony Bourdain has even said, “Let it be stated here, unto forever and eternity, truffle oil is not food.”

So, why all the hate? It’s not just because almost all truffle oil is artificially flavored. Other than an olive or grapeseed oil base, there is nothing natural in it. All of the flavor and aroma comes from chemicals created in a lab. 2,4-Dinitrophenol does not sound delicious.

This being said, there is real truffle oil out there; it is a bit hard to find though. High-end specialty stores such as Eataly and Dean & DeLuca are sure to carry it…right alongside the fake stuff. The labeling on the fakes can also be very misleading. So, how can you be sure you’re buying the real stuff? Keep one thing in mind, black truffles start at about 50 dollars an ounce with white truffles being quite a bit more. If you’re only paying a few bucks an ounce for truffle oil, it is not the real thing.

What is gianduja?

nutella

It’s the heavenly combination of chocolate and hazelnuts.

Gianduja, pronounced zhahn-doo-ya, originates from Torino, the capital city of the Piemonte region of Italy. While gianduja can be found in solid form, it is more commonly seen as a spread; the most popular worldwide being Nutella.

Nutella is produced by the Ferrero company, also in Piemonte. In its earliest form, Nutella was created in the 1940s by Pietro Ferrero, a pastry maker. Due to World War II rationing, cocoa was in short supply, so there was very little chocolate. To stretch the chocolate supply, Pietro added hazelnuts, which are plentiful in Piemonte. This year, the Nutella that we all know and love is celebrating its 50th anniversary.