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Truffles - what did I do wrong?


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Hi all

 

I know this isn't strictly a recipe-advice forum but I wondered if someone knowledgable about these things could help me out.

 

After having had some lovely truffle dishes out in the past few months (the truffle veloute at GR Claridges and another dish at the Greenhouse come to mind), and having long enjoyed a drizzle of truffle oil on my pasta dishes, a recent trip to Paris gave me the opportunity to get hold of the real thing and try using it myself.

 

The very nice man at the Place de la Madeleine helped me choose a good one, shrinkwrapped it for the journey, and told me it would last about 6 or 7 days. As soon as I arrived back in London 2 days later we found a reasonably straightforward pasta dish and shaved the black truffle on top in keen anticipation. And it tasted - like cardboard. No taste at all, certainly nothing like as nice as the truffle oil I would have otherwised used and nowhere near as good as the truffles I'd had dining out.

 

Can someone indicate where I went wrong in the above process, or was it just a bad truffle? The deli I bought it from seemed decent enough (La Maison de la Truffe) and it certainly wasn't cheap (€48).

 

Any thoughts appreciated,

 

MT

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Black truffles are different from white truffles. White truffles are the ones you shave on pasta; they only need a little heat to bring out the flavour.

Black truffles are normally cooked to bring out their flavour; slip them under the skin of a chicken before poaching; scrambled eggs etc. If you shave a black truffle over pasta, you should get some flavour but not much. It could also be that you were given a summer truffle (tuber aestivum) which are completely tasteless (and black), rather than a proper black truffle (tuber melanosporum). The proper ones are much more expensive.

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Black truffles are different from white truffles. White truffles are the ones you shave on pasta; they only need a little heat to bring out the flavour.

Black truffles are normally cooked to bring out their flavour; slip them under the skin of a chicken before poaching; scrambled eggs etc. If you shave a black truffle over pasta, you should get some flavour but not much. It could also be that you were given a summer truffle (tuber aestivum) which are completely tasteless (and black), rather than a proper black truffle (tuber melanosporum). The proper ones are much more expensive.

 

Thanks for the info. Clearly they saw the Englishman coming and gave me some sort of substandard tourist truffle. I shall be more careful in the future!

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You should know if it's summer truffle, as the skin will be black but the inside will be light gray-ish and not dark like the usual black truffle.

 

While it's true that black truffles can use a little heat to bring out the full flavor, a good black truffle should be aromatic even without any heat applied.

 

The nice man at Place de la Madeleine was not so nice after all, I'm afraid. :lol: Sorry for your bad luck. :lol:

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Sorry I'm slightly confused - should the inferior summer truffle be black inside or grey? Because this one was very definitely black inside and still tasted of nothing.

 

Perhaps I just didn't prepare it correctly, although from the slicing to the serving it really didn't smell or taste of anything.

 

Plus, is €48 too cheap for a "proper" truffle? How much should a "real" one be?

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Hi all

I know this isn't strictly a recipe-advice forum . . .

MT

Welcome aboard, strangely-monickered newbie. This isn't strictly any particular kind of forum, but caters for all curiosities, foodie and otherwise. Anyone who can craft a phrase like "some sort of substandard tourist truffle" ought to find a happy place here.

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As mentioned you should have cooked it rather than shaving... maybe sauteed with a little butter and toss butter and truffle with the pasta.

 

Maison de la truffe should be decent quality (though I think they are a bit pricy). Pretty sure it owuld have been a proper winter truffle, esp this time of year.

 

E48 sounds an genuine price point, maybe a bit low for MdT depending on how big urs was. In London FYI I think its blacks £1000/kg and whits £3000, though it varies from season to season

 

At the end of the day however don't forget that not all truffles are that good. e.g. the fresh black truffles you get in London from Booths in Borough Mkt I always find tasteless nonetheless. If its a good fresh black truffle it should have a good scent fresh, even before cooking (though not pronounced as a white truffle).

 

ta

 

J

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The other thing to worry about with black truffles is the Chinese. I don't know the scientific names, but there are black "truffles" from China that look rather like the real thing but are not; it sounds like that's what you got. In fact, they look close enough to fool some chefs.

 

I just looked a bit, and one Web site has a 7-ounce jar for $290. Which translates to about 1.85euros per gram. And D'artagnan, a purveyor here I trust on page 47 of their catalogue lists several kinds of black truffles but says that they are out of season.

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Thanks for the pictures Balex - mine was definitely the first one, the "proper" black truffle. From what I can gather I just didn't prepare it properly. That will teach me for blowing €48 on a whim.

 

Attached is a picture I took from inside the Maison itself of the truffles on display. Sorry for the strange angle, I'm still a bit self-concious with my cameraphone.

 

DSC00081.JPG

 

Maybe I should have bought one of the white ones just alongside. Or that great big lovely slab of fois gras just in front - that was an opportunity missed, too.

 

EDIT: And the guy did let me smell it before I bought it. And it didn't smell of much, but then I'm not an expert so had no idea what I was smelling really.

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