Cook’s Illustrated test cook Celeste Rogers measures out a small portion of one of eight different brands of white truffle oil into a measuring cup of melted butter ahead of a taste test of the pungent ingredient conducted by tossing the resulting sauce with spaghetti. Sounds like a fun tasting? Think again: many truffle oils on the market aren’t actually made with real truffles, but are instead concocted by mixing a petrolium-based organic compound called 2,4-dithiapentane (which occurs naturally in truffles, but is easily synthesized for mass production) with olive oil, resulting in a substance that is pungent to the point of causing headaches and only bears a passing resemblance to real truffle flavor. The purpose of this particular test is to determine which brands of white truffle oil are acceptable, without being overly chemical and overpowering.
Truffle Oil Trials
We're giving a fancy-sounding (but controversial) ingredient a close examination.