In 2007, Chef Daniel Patterson wrote an article in the New York Times about the many mysteries of truffle oils. At the time, he alleged many professional chefs had no idea truffle oil often used synthetic compounds instead of real truffles. (He himself used truffle oil at his own restaurant for years before he learned the truth and then quickly pulled all truffle oil from his shelves.)
There are a variety of ways to create synthetic truffle flavors but a common one is the compound 2,4-dithiapentane. It is found naturally in truffles, but it is also produced synthetically and used widely as a substitute for real truffles in truffle products. Because it’s just one compound, it’s flavor is very one-dimensional, unlike real truffles. A lot of people think they don’t like truffles because they actually don’t like 2,4-dithiapentane. Real truffles are more nuanced and delicate and for most, better.
Even though there’s a lot more transparency around truffle products now than there was in 2007, it’s still sometimes hard to discern what has real truffles in it and what does not. Here are a few of our favorite products. All of them use real truffles.
Jacobsen Salt Co. Infused White Truffle Salt
Jacobsen Salt makes the most beautiful salt. Each piece is hand-sorted from salt they extract from the Netarts Bay in Oregon. The bigger pieces go into their insane finishing salt. Smaller pieces go into their infused salts, like this truffle salt, which uses real white truffles.
Regalis Foods Black Truffle Honeys, Butters, and Oils
Truffles are perfect for infusing into fats— think honey, butters, and oils—but even so, many of these products are made with synthetic ingredients. There are a few great producers who always use real truffles. At Momofuku, we have been working with Regalis Foods for years to source truffles and truffle products in our restaurants. All their products use real truffles, nothing synthetic.
Tennessee Black Truffle Honeycomb
The honeycomb here comes from Savannah, GA, and the black truffles are from Tennessee. This stuff is perfect with any kind of cheese board this time of year or, even better, with ice cream.
Regalis Wisconsin Black Truffle Butter
This butter is sourced from Wisconsin. It’s a blend of 84% butter fat, which makes it extra creamy, plus black truffles from Abruzzo, Italy.
Black Truffle Oil
This extra virgin olive oil is estate grown in California. It’s naturally infused with black winter truffles from Valencia, Spain. It’s pretty great to use on braised meats.
Alma Gourmet Stainless Steel Truffle Slicer
You can technically get away with a mandoline, but if you’re going to be trying out truffles at home—get a truffle slicer. This one is basic but works great. You can also use it for chocolate when it’s not truffle season.
Food Storage Canister
If you buy some truffles, and you want to try at-home infusing with eggs or butter, you’re going to need an airtight container. It’s key to trapping all of the aromas of the truffles to transfer them to whatever you’re infusing with. There are lots of great alternatives, but we like this one.
We independently select all of our editorial products. If you buy something through our links, Momofuku may earn an affiliate commission.