I learned quite a bit about truffles after being a part of the 3-day truffle extravaganza hosted by Black Diamond Black Truffle Orchards and SoDel Concepts in mid-summer 2015.
I hate truffle oil (regulars here know that is no secret), and I naturally thought I hated truffles too. I was wrong. I was surprised to learn that most stuff called “truffle oil” never actually met even one real truffle. In fact, it's nothing but cheap or mediocre olive oil flavored with a chemical essence called bis(methylthio)methane, classified as an “aromatic” and related to formaldehyde. Not unlike most perfumes, in fact. Those who make and sell it say that it smells and tastes like truffles, but to me (and to many) it smells like burning rubber mixed with cheap perfume. Yuck.
Truffle queen Susan Alexander of Black Diamond Truffle Orchards literally forced me to try actual truffles, and they tasted nothing like the nasty truffle oil that otherwise talented cooks and chefs feel compelled to splash over pretty much everything. So beware! All truffles are not created equal. And don't fall for the truffle oil scam!
There I said it. And I feel better. Pass the real truffles, please….
(Thank you, Gustiamo.com for the truffle oil image, and SigmaAldrich.com for the chemical info)