Sunday, March 07, 2010

This is kind of interesting.

Found it as a sort of appendix/correction to a previous post talking about making popcorn with truffle oil. I clicked the product link and found two things that gave me the


First, there's the highlighted brand. Now, nothing against them, but I see Roland products as total tight "budget gourmet" both here and in France. Generally, I'll buy their stuff if I find it at Job Lots or Monoprix, but I'm not going to go out of my way to order or pay boatloads of money. (Above is their American distribution address. For some reason, and I'm only going on gut instinct, I think they're Asian. Don't know.)

Second, the price (approx $7/bottle). That's about the price for a fair to middling bottle of *unflavored* olive oil here. Last time I was au marche in Versailles, I noted*real* truffles were going for nearly 1000 EE/kg, so just an olive-sized piece to soak would cost a fair bit more than the price of the two bottles for $13 listed here.

Ever since reading Allende's recipe for a truffle in olive oil decoction, I've wanted to try this. Can't do it right now, though, as even if I *could* get truffles in the States, I'd not be able to afford them. So, settled for the next best thing here - a small bottle of truffle *flavored* oil from a local Eye-talian shop. I had no illusions about it, given the price (slightly higher than the inexpensive Spanish stuff I normally buy), but it did the job. Not ashamed of that. But then again, I'm not marketing myself as a gourmet or anything. Am just someone who likes food and who cooks decently enough.

For what it's worth, the reason why I bought the oil was to make a treat for the housemate. He'd described frites drizzled in truffle oil and sprinkled with rosemary. Given my food restrictions right now, I came up with an actually really nice workaround:

Patates Douces aux "Truffes" et Romarin

2 medium-sized sweet potatoes
4 T olive oil flavored with truffle (or not - just wanted to be foofy and nice for the housemate. Used Monini brand from Spoleto, IT, by the way.)
1+ T dried rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

1.) Preheat oven to 375 F.
2.) Wash, dry, cut out bad spots on the sweet potatoes. Slice thinly width-wise (like potato chips).
3.) Toss potatoes in olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper. Save a bit of oil to rub on a cookie sheet.
4.) Bake for roughly 15 minutes or so, turning over when necessary. Ultimately, you'd like them to be crusty on the outside and softish on the inside.

Pavel actually told me that, though it wasn't very truffly, it was honestly good and a keeper. I was happy because it's totally within the South Beach parameters.


Jo said...

You do know that all truffle oil is actually just chemical aroma (2,4-dithiapentane) with an occasional chip of truffle thrown in sometimes for visual?
Knowing that, I never worry about price.

Be said...

I did know, actually, but it doesn't appear that the person who wrote for the Amazon blog did.

(You can buy small...tiny...tiny bottles of just plain olive oil with truffle pieces in the marche in Versailles, but it's godawful expensive. I think that this was the stuff that Allende was talking about in her cook book.)

Am kind of careful of this stuff since learning what "natural vanilla" flavoring meant in France (don't know if it's the same here). Got some relatively expensive Vanilla bean pods that had the flavor removed for other purposes and then were re infused with some sort of petri dish concoction.

Jo said...

I'm curious if notice next time what those little bottles are going for.

You mean the pods were stripped out and restuffed?!?! I'm so confused. That's madness.

Be said...

Jo: something you mentioned earlier about going to a place where "there's good food" kind of made me snort a bit sadly. We have an awful lot of prejudices regarding Europe (and France) that just don't hold anymore - especially since the start of the EU. They're much more beholden beholden to Big Agri than ever (and has always been a major thing in France), moreso than even us. There's an awful lot of scary crap food there, actually, and under much less honest pretenses. Have talked about it a fair bit in the past here.

In terms of Vanilla - what will be done is that pods will be stripped of whatever essential oils they have and then 'reconstituted' in a sort of bacterialgically-created "natural" substitute for the original flavor. Sounds crazy, but it actually makes money for people who aren't confined to the same standards (or scruples) as we are here.

As for the truffles - I think it was a small (no more than 4-5 oz of oil with a bit of truffle) bottle going for something like 60+ euro. Totally not worth it, even if I could smuggle it in the suitcase, as it was 'artisan.'


Ask me sometime about cheese (and dairy production) in particular in France and the lawsuits that have been filed over the last year or so by Big Agri there. (Or don't. You probably won't be happy.)

Be said...