File this one under “ways to rip off the (wannabe) rich“.

We have a local truffle industry here, so for a few weeks a year, every moderately-priced hipster cafe and restaurant is shaving them into everything.

Truffles themselves don’t taste like much. Basically just like mushrooms. The point of them is they emphasise the umami (“savoury” or “meaty”) flavour in whatever dish they’re added to. I’ve had them in ways from sliced over veal to turned into a truffle, honey, and star anise panna cotta, and I like the latter style uses more so than the former. Plus they can very easily be overused–I tend not to like them with chicken–and I really don’t think they’re that amazing. Nice, but not as much as the reputation might have you believe.

I’ve also had truffle oil. Actually, I own a (now nearly empty) bottle of truffle oil and for a while I experimented by putting it in basically everything. The first couple of times it does, indeed, make meat taste amazing; all overblown and rich and “restaurant-ish”. But after a while you learn to identify the taste of the oil as a separate entity to the dish, and it… stops working (as always, with tastes, it’s hard to describe). Then the chemical aftertaste comes to the fore, and nowadays there’s few things I hate more than the lingering stain of truffle oil on a dish (mashed potatoes, it’s always in mashed potatoes for some reason).

So… yeah. Truffles are one of those “try it at least one to say you have” things, but… let’s just say I wouldn’t be doing deals with the Mafia to get my hands on any.