Ever since Jeffrey Steingarten broke the story in Vogue in
2003, it has been common knowledge among aficionados that truffle
oil is typically synthetically flavored. But dubious truffle oil
products have proliferated. For instance, Walmart now sells Roland
Extra Virgin Olive Oil With White Truffle. Its 1.86 ounces, about
the equivalent volume of an egg, cost $18. On its ingredient list:
My cousin Maria, the truffle hunter’s wife, used to make truffle
oil with the broken bits of truffle she couldn’t serve, but not to
preserve the flavor — the oil was flavorful for only as long as a
fresh truffle. Much as we may want to capture truffles in a jar,
the biology isn’t accommodating.
I forget where I first read about this, but once you know it, you can’t untaste that “truffle oil” just tastes like an oily chemical coating.