At one stage I was the northern most producer of truffles (very few produced actually but I only had 40 trees and didn't really look after them to the utmost detail) in the southern hemisphere, then a guy 150km further north, and in soil that was near total sand, got some to grow. This was totally unexpected.
It seems the conditions required are not quite so special as thought, and some totally unsuited conditions (as previously thought) might be good due to reduced competition from other fungi.
The action of inoculating trees is simple as well, get a ripe couple of real truffles, blender them up and pour it over the small saplings in pots, if the mycorrhizal sets in you can see it as white bits on the roots. (I think you need two, but not even sure on that).
A wide range of trees will work, oak, hazel, cork to name a few. There is a preferred pH range for the soil, as would be expected for all fungi pH has a strong role to play.
There has been a lot of secrecy enshrouding the whole game for a long time.
I refer only to Tuber melanosporum in the above, I am not sure anyone has been able to get the white truffles growing out of the wild, there will be some special condition or symbiosis with an animal or something that is needed, but not understood yet.
Now I'm imagining a Truffle Mafia/ Mushroom Cartel, with mushroom goon squads, fungi warehouses, and done up in gaudy suits & ostentatious furs.
It exists in Italy and France, who cash in on the point of origin of truffles, but it's a total free-for-all in Croatia where truffles can be had for remarkably cheap by contrast in Istria.
I'm told when everything was shut down in 2020 they were practically giving them away in Croatia since the prices collapsed without anything but a small local demand to sustain it, and how Italian vendors were finding ways to cross and take the excess supply to artificially maintain the prices and avoid arbitrage, now this is all speculative and needs to be taken with a grain of salt, but I know from personal experience from running a kitchen in Istria that black truffles late into the winter season can be had for a pittance than whatever can be found out of season in the Spring/Summer/Fall because most local restaurants are closed and the hassle of exporting them is often not worth the trouble of just offloading them despite EU membership (this was in 2013 when it had just joined).
In many ways I think this will be one of the few Industry's to benefit from Schengen the most now that Croatia is entering it in 2023, before you had to wait in a rather long line to cross, but now a quick trip 1-2 hour round trip from Koper or Triste (all with decent plane/train options) can be the only thing that is required to take advantage of this price arbitrage in the Winter and then pass them off as Italian and a significant markup.
You can likely pay a Croatian to negotiate and settle a price with the vendor and then have them drive/bus to Italy or Slovenia for less than what it takes to buy locally despite the high fuel prices right now because of this markup--which to me is reminiscent of how it was cheaper to import grain from Egypt and bake the bread than it was to have a local do so in Rome during the height of the empire.
It was a surprisingly decent flick.
It’s expensive because you need a huge amount of land, it only produces for a few weeks, and you can have years with almost no production. The cartel was created to protect producers against those huge variation of supply from years to years.
A couple years ago I had my first “truffle” experience with some truffle cheese and was like cutting back into that propane tank. Not the same in scale, but certainly in type. Tremendously similar smells. Since then I’ve been sad and thought I just managed to ruin truffles for myself. This article has given me hope.
Alice: I'm telling you, there is gas everywhere! This place is about to blow!
Bob: I have been up and down the block three times, and the sniffer is not picking up a thing.
Right, they were accumulating propane on the floor of the garage!
Then they got the generator running and KABLOOEY!!! The garage burned to the ground. Dad and the neighbor both ended up in the burn ward of the hospital!!
Lesson: Be careful with propane!!
The good news: They didn't burn and sink his boat and have to swim.
We do get some Tuber aestivum as well, but that's alright because they're displayed as "truffe d'été". No harm done.
As the article said, the "truffle flavour" has nothing to do with the real stuff, and outside of France, Italy and Spain, you probably won't get them on the market. You might be lucky in some restaurants all over Europe. But everywhere else it's propably not the "real" black truffle. Especially, if they put some in ketchup...
Speaking as an American who lived in France for several years in many different cities both metropolitan et d'outre-mer, from Paris to Entre-Deux and everywhere in-between, I can tell you that a lot of how French people feel about food in their own country stems largely from aspect blindness, and a lot of how Americans feel about food in France stems largely from never actually living there. France has the same flavors and foods available as everywhere else in roughly the same proportion if you spend the time looking.
There are differences of course. The US has many more different varieties of every kind of produce. In Paris you find "an apple" or "a lettuce", while in the US you have to choose between 10 different varieties side-by-side. On the flip side, France has many more varieties of pureed pork generally available.
Similar to why people might knowingly buy knock-off "designer" items.
It’s tasty when grated over a pasta dish?
I have truffle oil and truffle honey around the house. They’re useful ingredients.
I’m not sure what’s in truffle honey but it’s AMAZING with Camembert and other similar very soft cheeses so there’s that.
I'm sorry and I'm not picking on you or trying to be smart, but this doesn't make sense: anything you buy for $5 in a supermarket is neither rare nor luxurious, by definition. Why do people fall for this.
When it's sitting next to a $0.89 box of Kraft macaroni, the $5.00 box definitely feels like a luxury.
These things may seem commonplace locally, but to people on the other side of the country these "cheap" things can be a rare luxury.
I didn’t realize that truffle oil doesn’t come from truffles, so TIL as well. I don’t really like the flavor anyways but it is certainly unique.
Nor is buying a Lexus (by Ferrari's standards) since its essentially just a Toyota with a nicer interior and more gadgets.
People are dumb.
This is exactly my point. Lexus is sold as a "luxury" car.
> A Mercedes is also essentially a Toyota with nicer interior and more gadgets - if you want to put it that way.
You missed the point - which is Toyota and Lexus share the same owner and are literally the same platform of a car: https://www.quora.com/Which-Toyota-model-is-the-same-as-a-Le...
Lexus (レクサス, Rekusasu) is the luxury vehicle division of the Japanese automaker Toyota.
 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexus
Think about Starbucks. You don't need a $7 coffee drink, but its sweet and tasty, maybe you like the homey atmosphere and fake friendliness from the staff, maybe you like using the fancy names, maybe you like being seen with your Starbucks cup, all because you too can afford a luxury lifestyle. Its all marketing to sell you overpriced coffee and milk.
I much prefer the abundance of smaller privately owned shops you tend to find in Europe over the factory made franchise options you see all over the US. Most Americans seem to have no idea.
The truffle flavor is no different from the fake "college t-shirts" that big pseudo-american chains like NewYorker sell all over the Europe.
Oh phooey. Ferraris are Italian.
That started to change in the 1970s and 80s but that still tended to be focused on specific ingredients (which have producers advertising them heavily) with the same expectation that they’re available year round everywhere. There were whole campaigns promoting things like Angus beef as a premium ingredient rather than the more easily produced but less flavorful breed it actually is.
Truffle derivatives fit well into that: toss some “truffle salt” or oil onto the same hamburger or French fries you were serving last week and it’s now $10 more expensive. The truffle products don’t need to be local or in season, so anyone can do that. Plus since the flavor change is quite modest most of your customers will consider buying it.
Wow, because the Brits are not exactly known for their haute cuisine.
In Michelin star restaurants maybe. Else, you'd be surprised...
You'd stop working if the clientele saw you are not trustworthy.
What you will see in the frontpage of the "Truffle Dogs University" in Roddi - http://www.universitadeicanidatartufo.it/prodotti.htm - is relevant: you will see the picture of a guy in front of the products. He "puts his face on it" - that is his reputation at implicit stake -, and he is proud. That is the normal standard. Also notice one important thing: «Available for /small/ shipments» - the goods are in limited quantity (fake ones could be produced ad libitum).
As if just breading and killing animals is not sick enough, there's foie gras.
Finally it's being banned in more and more countries.
I find it bizarre that here on HN someone advertises it, albeit in parenthesis...
But your general description of meat production is a bit too simplistic. The main issue with it, for me, is not the very act of taking a life for food. It's about what comes before it. The life the animals have in captivity. There are differences of course, but generally lifestock is held in too little space, too high stocking density, inappropriate bedding, flooring and treatment in case of diseases. It's a matter of cost. One can provide conditions where lifestock is suffering much less, having a good life even, but that means much more cost per pound meat sold. In addition, beginning of life (insemination which can be "natural" or artificial or some kind of in-between rape kind) and end (different ways of taking the life, some gas suffocating the animal causing terrible pain, or bolt-into-brain or) can also provide or prevent different levels of suffering. Again it's a matter of cost.
I personally do eat meat. Not everyday but most days. I do try to ensure that the farmer provided the animals with a good life, as I know most of them personally. Or it's a wild animal, running through the forest until the last moments. Not practical for everybody, and pretty pricey, but avoids the worst.
As you see, suffering is key here. The mere act of taking a life is "natural". (A bolt through the brain is quick and less painful than the long hunt by a pack of wolves or a lion.) It's still a kill, but that's the balance I'm striking personally.
That said, let's consider dairy. Cows have their babies taken from them right after birth, which entails days of audible suffering from the mums (they cry for days). This happens 4-5 times in their live. The baby is fed formula, the moms milk is taken and sold for profit. That's the suffering you mentioned. That's impossible to avoid when producing dairy at scale.
That's why I'm vegan.
But it's far from impossible to avoid. There are farms that keep calves with their moms for the first months and this is an active topic of academic research in animal welfare groups around the world, mostly in Europe. There are some drawbacks, like obviously the calf drinks some of the milk that otherwise could be sold, but there are advantages too, like calves growing faster and having better health which could compensate for these effects, but again, this is still being researched.
So, it's not even clear that it's economically better to separate cow and calf right after birth (dairy industry is quite conservative and slow to adopt change.) But even if there is an economic hit, it's not so big and consumers who care could just pay more. It could eventually be included in regulations for dairy farming, and until then, people who care (like you and me) can voluntarily buy milk from farms that practice keeping them together. Apart from being better for the animals, it also shows farmers and regulators that people care and this can work.
I respect you going vegan, but for this particular problem there are solutions and it seems like there are worse things that we do to animals.
That's how we used to talk about different types of humans in the not so distant past.
That your empathy has fixed limits does not mean society does not move fwd. Thank God.
Personally it would be killing, breading, and eating.
It's also the reason I expect Tuna's days are numbered.
Sounds like a new process to make fried chicken.
In my experience in Italy, I would say you usually get real truffle outside of scammy tourist places, but it is generally unspecified on the menu. AKA, you are getting the cheap one rather than the expensive one, unless the menu says the opposite.
(Edit: no it's not, it's indicum, see below. In the OP, the former is described as very mild but somewhat prized; the latter as tasteless, cheap, used for appearance (& perhaps in combination with synthetic flavouring) only.)
I suspect that the Chinese truffles are T. indicum or perhaps T. himalayense .
> There is also the notorious tuber indicum, the Chinese black truffle, which has flooded the European and American market. It has no taste or smell, and its price starts at less than ten euros per kilo. Visually, it does not differ much from the black winter truffle, and it will often be falsely presented as such, although the flavor and the aroma do not resemble in any way.
> This truffle also has a derogatory nickname: potatoes - because the price and taste do not differ much from those of potatoes. If you get a truffle with a dark core during summer, it is also a scam.
I Googled about pine nuts. Here is what Wiki says: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pine_nut
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, only 29 species provide edible nuts, while 20 are traded locally or internationally
Pine nuts from the stone pine are really expensive. Although, in this case, it's rather easy to notice the difference.
For some time now I have been wondering why the little pieces of truffle were tasteless when the dishe as a whole smelled so strong.
Now I know.
> it can be extracted from oil. [...] Liters of this petroleum-derived product, the colorless 2,4-dithiapentane liquid, are sourced for a few euros...
We've discussed this in chemistry classes. The compound is the compound. Why does it matter where it's sourced?
Anyone who's heard about the rarity of Actual Truffles can reason out that they can't possibly be squeezing enough "truffle oil" from Proper Truffles to supply the world. They're obviously recreating something. So they identified the tasty (smelly?) chemical that identifies with Real Truffles, and source it elsewhere.
It reminds me of the every-decade story about how Twinkies are made, and the myriad of scary chemicals in them. The recipe has changed a bit over the years (actually getting safer...) and the last article I read on the subject was all "OMG THEY ARE USING INDUSTRIAL CLEANER IN TWINKIES" then continued to have a food scientist explain that they discovered the Actual Food ingredient cleaned better than the Chemical Cleaner, so switched from Chemical Cleaner to Actual Food Ingredient Cleaner.
1. there are real truffles that in his opinion are much better than the artificial flavor (fair)
2. the food industry is deceptive about real vs artificial truffle flavor (fair)
3. the artificial flavor is harmful because it is derived from petroleum (silly)
The problem with the article is that 1 is interesting but just, like, your opinion man, and also like a thousand dollars. And 2 is business as usual. So if you want people not to just say “Sure, but I personally really like artificial truffle flavor” (which I did, several times, while reading) you need to convince them there’s something sinister about it that there isn’t about, say, artificial watermelon flavor. But 3 is a huge miss.
Artificial is bad if served as the real thing, that most certainly is harmful and dishonest.
> "2,4-Dithiapentane is the dimethyldithioacetal of formaldehyde. It is prepared by the acid-catalyzed condensation of methyl mercaptan, (the main aromatic compound in both halitosis and foot odor and a secondary compound in flatulence), with formaldehyde."
The issues with such synthesis or extraction from petroleum largely revolve around purity; I notice that online sellers describe a '99% pure' product, but what's in that other 1%? Sloppy cheap synthesis produces potentially harmdful side products.
How confident can you be that the end result is filtered appropriately, every time?
Real truffles taste almost nothing like the fake truffle flavor you seem to get in most dishes. I think you made a great comparison to fake watermelon flavor vs. the real thing. It's only in the vague ballpark.
I now will have a truffle dish if it's done at a very high end establishment that deals with those ingredients on a consistent basis. I still absolutely cannot stand the fake stuff (like truffle fries) to this day.
I'll agree that an actual truffle, with all the fabulous fungus intact, is going to give a completely different experience.
But if the claim is that the truffle-extracted compound is somehow different from the oil-extracted compound, that's a lie equivalent to claiming Real Truffles are flavoring your truffle fries.
Red and orange taste just isn't close.
Significantly more complicated than “this one single molecule is the flavour X, and therefore indistinguishable from an actual X”.
This reminds me of https://news.northwestern.edu/stories/2019/09/solving-the-lo...
> Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus first reported friction-induced static electricity in 600 B.C. After rubbing amber with fur, he noticed the fur attracted dust.
> “Since then, it has become clear that rubbing induces static charging in all insulators — not just fur,” Marks said. “However, this is more or less where the scientific consensus ended.”
Of course, you get taught in class that when you rub things together you pull free electrons off one and that magically makes static electricity.
…of course, that’s a gross simplification and also wrong (read the article).
Ie. it’s a fair suggestion that what you learnt in class was not domain specific to taste and organic chemistry; and, wrong.
Pure chemical flavours are not equivalent to natural equivalents, because they are:
- not chemically equivalent (the natural product is a mixture of many molecules)
- probably not chemically pure (since they’re cheap ass imports)
- probably contain contaminants from the chemical process they were produced by, if they have obvious (eg. a smell) differences from the natural product.
So… yes, a chemical, in its pure form is just a chemical, no matter where it comes from.
…but that’s an ideal, not reflected, most likely either the source natural ingredient, or the cheap ass petroleum products you can buy for a few bucks / liter.
I don’t particularly dislike truffle-flavored products, but I know they’re nothing like the real thing. Same exact thing goes for wasabi. Some “wasabi” products are just vile.
What about sweet potatoes or lamb? Can they be represented by a chemical?
If the article were just "truffles are more than this one chemical compound, and you're being lied to about truffle flavoring on your fries," I would have commented differently (or maybe not at all.) But the article is too busy being elitist to make a reasonable argument like "truffles are more than this one chemical compound..."
Because the purity might not be 100%. There might be some petroleum left in the end product. Especially given that suppliers have a financial incentive to not care about safety that much.
And of course, charging you the price of real truffles for it
And if you taste a real truffle you'll know that it's a much more complex thing that this one compound, it just doesn't taste the same.
You don't have to be an English major to see that I didn't claim they are.
> ... the industrial cleaner used is claimed to be safe.
Did you miss the point that it was a food ingredient before it was a cleaner? Kind of like discovering (theoretically) that corn meal scours better than Comet - of course we'll switch to corn meal! No one wants Accidental Comet lunch, we can eliminate that purchase altogether, and we can get a bigger quantity discount on corn meal!
> ...it's a much more complex thing that this one compound
Indeed! But I'm discussing the article's specific claims about the smelly compound.
See H Enfield:Richer than thou
This morning I had an expensive artisan craft coffee. I've never been able to taste the difference, so I'm not going to act like it was something extraordinary. Atmosphere was nice though.
First people should not be lied to by restaurants and the food industry, and prices should not be jacked up selling crap as premium...
Then they can decide freely if they like gasoline-derived oil for what it is itself...
It reminds me that in the USA there are rules for what constitutes a bourbon whiskey. You can make and enjoy other types of whiskey, just don't call them Bourbon.
There's also Jack Daniel's, from what I remember they actually pass the requirements to be a Bourbon, but the company chooses not to label it that way. That's also fine!
What wouldn't be fine is a whiskey calling itself rum or vodka, because when I buy one I don't expect to get the other.
I would caveat that with: First people should ALL work in the hospitality and service Industry.
You will be shocked if you think this is the most egregious thing you will find in the culinary Industry.
Honestly, after what the Industry like since COVID, I hope it collapses and people just start to eat healthier at home, in the US the Industry has been consolidated by Corpos who could get millions in PPP and didn't have to pay it back and low interest rates to win a battle of attrition against the smaller spots who relied on word to muth and higher QC/QA to justify those high prices that the public feel entitled to complain about despite not knowing the mechanics of getting a kitchen to function let alone turn a profit.
It's sad... I really thought prior to COVID we were making serious inroads in educating the American population to something that most in Asia and Europe is pretty normalized: food culture.
As a cook that has worked in and ran kitchens in both Europe and N. America the fact that most people think that what is in those atrocious bottles (truffle oil) resembles anything like a black truffle underscores what I mean.
Most people in the US freak out when they see a vein in their shrimp let alone a head, whereas when you're in Spain the best part of a tapas bar is when the numbers are thin and the patrons still drinking get the good stuff like 'gambas' and you can suck the heads after having been served countless olives, patatas bravas or various bread with stuff plates with your drinks.
Personally speaking, I don't really think black truffles are that great and I've worked with quite a lot of them over the years, it mainly benefits a lot from it's marketing more than it's actual flavour.
The perfume it gives does enhance a dish, which makes it good to garnish as a table service option, but the taste is rather unremarkable to me, at best it's like having good biodynamicly grown garlic. White truffles are far more aromatic, and just keeping them in rice is enough to brighten up a rissoto, but also suffers from the 'too Earthy' category for most people's palettes unless they are trying to impress people who gravitate towards high end ingredients or are actually coming for that as the highlight of their meals while it's in season, which is an incredibly small percentage of patrons.
How does that make things hard to regulate?
Years ago, I bought some very pungent blue cheese, must have been either from SW France or NE Spain. Definitely not a household name, and priced quite high. One of the worst eating experiences I can remember. The flavour was so strong a small crumb was enough to burn your tastebuds. Almost painful to eat, and we had to toss the thing out.
It smelled really good, though. I learned my lesson. These days I refuse to buy any unfamiliar cheese I can't sample in the shop first.
Now, catching people selling a cheaper truffle as a more expensive truffle may require more educated customers.
If you see a fine wine with 'hint of boxwood', run.
If we go to another country with good wines, we ask the waiter and it works out better than looking at the wine menu and making assumptions. One waiter in Sicily even suggested that he chose the wine for us and we were very satisfied with his choice after we also tried to get the same wine ourselves and ordered something different.
Also, Moldova used to export crappy sweet wine before their agricultural products were banned in Russia. Now it exports mainly into the EU and they have some good quality wines if you skip the ones made from hybrid grape varieties, which I wonder why I've even found on the EU market. Must be the new 2021 regulation allowing hybrid varieties in wines with protected denominations of origin. Apart from the usual varieties, they also produce wines with a Georgian variety called Saperavi, which I like quite a lot and also a local older variety called Rara Neagra which is popular but I don't like because it's acidic, however it can be sucessfully used in blends where one needs more acidity.
The article does say that, but makes the (valid) point that it's not okay to sell it pretending that it's "the real stuff" with a corresponding price tag.
What I'm curious about is that the author seems to suggest these artificial flavouring are unhealthy ("causing long-term damage to [...] your stomach and palate") but doesn't say why.
They analyze the real thing for what makes it smell or taste like it does. Then they take one or a few major molecules that make up the taste and that are easy to derive cheaply from something else and use it for flavoring stuff. The real thing probably had a hundred different things make up its smell and taste.
Bonus points if it can be derived from something that allows them to label it as "natural". Lots of natural flavor is produced by molds/funghi actually that have been modified to produce the molecules needed. Example: https://cen.acs.org/food/food-science/Edible-fungus-yields-n...
Case in point I just recently read here on HN I believe that banana flavored stuff still tastes like the old bananas that we can no longer buy because that variety is no longer possible to grow. The molecules they extracted from that aren't in the bananas variety we can currently buy.
Anecdote: we did this in our high school chemistry class w/ pineapple flavour, i.e. we created artificial pineapple flavouring right there in class. It was very strong and not as complex as a real pineapple, but identifiable.
that would be the Gros Michel. It is a common misconception that it no longer exists, but you can you actually still buy it (and grow it), you will find many results in google. It's just been replaced in the mass market.
It’s one of my life’s entertaining side-missions to try as many types as possible, ever since I found out that “the (cavendish) banana” is not the end of the story.
I’ve ticked off Cavendish (of course), dwarf cavendish, lady finger, apple banana, Pisang Awak, red Dacca, Fe’i and various plantains so far. Many more to go!
So I should have written: that you can no longer buy in the supermarket down the street :)
I certainly would laugh if I went into a restaurant and on top of my 'truffle-infused' Lamb Ragù was a gently placed Truffle Jellybean.
Truffle oil is kinda like that artificial grape flavor. It's clearly not the real thing if you've tasted both. But if you're honest, that fake grape in a Fanta or whatever is tasty in its own way.
Similarly there's a burger joint near me that does truffle oil fries with the synthetic flavor. They aren't priced like it's some luxury thing either, they're just the standard fries at the price you'd expect. They're tasty. I don't see the point of being all huffy about it.
I do like to think that sim-flavors will eventually get their own seat at the taste at the table but there is still correlation between interest in the prototype taste and the sims.
However I do like organic raspberry for example, synth raspberry is meh.
Personally I think like you, if the product tastes good and the atmosphere is fine for the advertised price I'm 100% satisfied.
If the restaurant manages to achieve that with cheaper ingredients (while maintaining hygiene and not outright lying) I consider that a good business practice.
But what is constitutes outright lying? Some would assume that the word "truffles" on its own means the genuine article. Others would say they are telling the truth if they state that it is not the real thing in the small print. It wouldn't surprise me if someone tried to trademark Real Truffles for their substitute. All would claim that they are telling the truth, never mind deny they are not outright lying. Technically, they are correct.
Deception is not a good business practice, even in the slightest. It is the sign of someone who is solely interested in short term gain, rather than establishing a lasting institution.
Restaurants being dishonest are maybe problem for honest ones next-door, but if the customer is happy I see no harm done.
According to Wikipedia, it's at least believed by some researchers that French fries originated in France.
Unless you mean "these specific fries don't come from France, any more than these specific fries contain truffles".
Would be accurate and descriptive and makes them distinct from fries with actual truffle.
Gives you the same differentiation as whipped cream vs edible oil
With all these foods the real thing is better, but the substitute is also fine.
Imitation vanilla is labeled imitation vanilla. Not a secret that it's not made from actual vanilla.
I'm surprised honey hasn't come up here more. The majority of honey in the US contains very little actual honey, but the ingredients list just says "pure filtered honey". If you've ever had real honey, it's night and day. If you want a cheaper honey substitute, that's fine. If a company is labeling a cheaper honey substitute as "pure filtered honey", that's not fine.
That said, you should be able to _easily_ distinguish different varieties of honey or even different sources of honey by tasting it. If you can’t then it’s likely a big commodity blend.
Go do a blind from a producer that lists the hive locations for the honey. It’s probably the product that has the most obvious “terroir” effect that I know of. I can tell the difference between honey from hives that are less than 2 miles apart (Woodlawn vs Englewood in Chicago).
A lot of honey is imported from places where it has been mixed with other sugars or adulterated in other ways. The bottlers either don't know or don't care because the price is lower and the profit margin is higher.
The labeling laws are being broken by a number of big producers. The adulterated honey is generally safe, but is not pure honey.
Never liked it, but now I like it less. And I like fenugreek.
Sadly most of the coffee shops don't even try to achieve these two things.
Even in grocery stores you can't be sure what kind of fish you buy.
This is meaningless.
If I buy a product that claims to contain X ingredient, the manufacturer has a moral, ethical, and legal responsibility to give me that ingredient.
Yes, food should be accurately labeled, and I'll take the author's word for it that the imitation stuff is not very close to the real thing in flavor. Sure. Those are fine points. Stick to those, and stop implying that if I like the stuff I like, I'm some sort of slop-eating prole. You can argue for truth in advertising without appealing to classism.
Synthetic vanillin is delicious.
That said, it's very ugly that this happens, I hope the EU will start protecting the term truffle.
But in this case it does, what's your point ?
(note that this is true for many artificial flavors, there's lots of esters often known as "pear" "banana" "strawberry" etc but as I'm sure you are aware artifical banana candy is a long long way from tasting like an actual banana.
More recently if I get something that says "truffle", it's this crazy almost garlic style punch (without the aftertaste of garlic). I've been confused why my experience of this changed so much from then to now… should have known I was being scammed!
Truffles vary in taste and intensity, yet the price will easily be set on classes that ignore the quality of the single tuber. Some may taste horribly - it can happen - and yet be sold with a price following their class (not their individual merit).
I am afraid it is racist: all truffles of the same family are regarded the same by some, in spite of strong individual differences.
Being older now, I see that the real value in the item or experience was being able to tell me about it. So many things fall into this category, if not completely, at least partially.
It's not about being fungi, I love other mushrooms.
I love coriander. I just know some people say "soap" and wrinkle their noses. Well.. truffle does that to me, and I've had chunks of it the size of nuts in France in the early 70s, I know it wasn't some factory extract (it was the mayors birthday and we lucked into it with a local)
I spit it out over board and complained it must be full of dishing soap ...
I've read that there is a compound in cilantro that we can taste that is untastable to other people. I've noticed that finally chopped and/or cooked cilantro is not anywhere near as strong. So it must be some volatile chemical. Once I was able to clearly identify the taste, I started noticing other tastes in raw vegetables that went away after fine-chopping and cooking. For the most part, I find raw vegetables almost inedible, especially things like bell peppers. But cooked up, they are completely fine.
I also noticed that, if I try to push through eating many raw vegetables, I start to have an allergic reaction on my tongue. This is especially true for cilantro, basil, celery, and to a lesser extent carrots and tomatoes. Again, cooked is no problem.
I'm my mind, they're all linked. Some uniqueness of my tongue genetics makes me susceptible to one or more certain chemicals that others can tolerate. And my tongue is trying to tell me it's bad for me.
Ah, here it is - https://www.npr.org/2008/12/26/98695984/getting-to-the-root-...
Ye exactly. Like licking a raw parsnip on the outside.
You mean eliciting?
Why not just write simply? What are you trying to tell me instead of calling me a buffoon over and over.
Regarding your excellent summary: If only there was a GPT-3 equivalent Chrome extension to automatically do this for me!
It's the same compound that's found in the truffle. We found somewhere else to extract it, but we don't make it from scratch.
I suppose, then, truffles are just artificially flavored.
As it stands, it's just an elitist article about the source of a compound that's either responsible for Terrific Truffles or Petroleum Pasta - author can't decide.
edit: improve alliteration
For the little it's worth, I interpreted the author's tone as one of having some confidence in his understanding of the subject and not intending to belittle people.
And he specifically said that there's no shame in not having good truffle knowledge as virtually the entire industry is lying about it.
> There is no shame in not knowing that. As the best truffles are extremely difficult to find, most chefs and journalists are unaware of this. Even the “experts” hand out awards for this aromatized garbage with only bits of decorative truffles. Almost everything with the truffle label that is available in stores or served in restaurants is a lie and a fraud.
Stuff was being sold as whiskey that was anything but i.e. gasoline.
IIRC, The bottled in bond act was passed as the first consumer protection act. Basically whiskey was distilled, aged in a government warehouse, and (upon taxes paid) was bottled with a bonded seal that was meant to say to consumers “this is actual whiskey.” It also ensured the government got their taxes.
I recognize consumers don’t actually get to buy the whole truffle and would still need to trust restaurants if a similar bonding system were in place.
But an interesting precedent of food and marketing nonsense.
I actually enjoy the taste of truffle oil (especially on fries) and don't like spending enormous amounts of money on food, so it's a pretty reasonable compromise to me. I was planning to order some truffles sometime and make a few things with them and it's entirely plausible that I will prefer the synthetic version to the real thing.
This is HN in a nutshell. When all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail.
Maybe this isn’t even a situation that needs to be solved?
Food scarcity is one of the first, classic things human technology has improved through agriculture, and it's reasonable to think it will do the same thing to the high cost of truffles, and indeed the demand will incentivize people to try and reward those that finally succeed at it. If that's bad, then my question is why should truffles be expensive forever?
You can get fantastic high quality food in the US, but it’s few and far between with a very high cost compared to average quality in Europe.
Tartufi di Fassia Tartufata with black truffles is made in Italy exclusively with organic black truffles and the natural aroma of black truffles. This tartufata comes without any artificial flavors and you can taste this unadulterated and delicious taste with every bite.
Shipping weight: 120 g per piece
Mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus), extra virgin olive oil, 6% summer truffle (Tuber Aestivum vitt), salt, parsley, black truffle flavored preparation* (extra virgin olive oil, black truffle flavorings), parsley, garlic*.
Huh, that’s my favorite part. It’s like the amazing smell of gasoline in an edible form.
I wonder if I’d even like real truffles?
I’ve got no hate for a flavor just for being synthetic, especially when getting the real flavor is destructive.