General Discussion

TRUFFLES.... Are they really worth it? How about other "HIGH END" ingredients?


General Discussion 7

TRUFFLES.... Are they really worth it? How about other "HIGH END" ingredients?

woo! | Dec 30, 2004 12:51 PM

So a poster on the LA board just had a really interesting experience at one of our high end places in LA (Spago) - they messed up an order, and while he was waiting for it to be done right, they served him something else... pumpkin ravioli with white truffles... not bad. It sounded like it was this poster's first (or early) experience with white truffles, and s/he wasn't very impressed with them... didn't see what the fuss was about.

Since it was more of a general "Why do people go ga-ga about truffles" question, I thought I'd start a discussion here...

So the question is... Are truffles worth it? Why do people really order them? What's the big deal? I think this question could be asked for a number of other high end ingredients which have unique tastes and flavors like Foie Gras and Caviar... some people (myself included) can't get enough of all this stuff, and some people simply can't understand why we spend so much money on stuff that just tastes weird....

What do you think? What are your opinions? Here are mine...

Truffles - LOVE IT. Definitely worth it to me. But also can definitely be an acquired taste for many. For me the smell of truffles is like nothing else, and that just adds to the enjoyment. But the taste and smell is VERY unique, so I can see how it really isn't for everyone. One of the OP's points/questions/hypotheses was that people only order truffles do act like they are sophisticated or because they have money or because they want to seem "in" - I have NO DOUBT that does represent some non-trivial portion of the truffle consuming population and market, but hope it isn't that much. Wishful thinking?

Caviar - LOVE IT. Yes it is a different sort of taste, yes many think it's weird. No it isn't mainstream. Yes it can be VERY EXPENSIVE. Yes, you should STOP EATING RUSSIAN CASPIAN CAVIAR because the species is in REAL DANGER. Yes there are US farm raised alternatives... NO, they are nowhere close to as good... BUT... Iranian Caviar is still managed very tightly and delicious - but absurdly more expensive. Sigh.

Foie Gras - LOVE IT. Many of my non-adventurous friends think I am very strange for wanting to eat the liver of a duck. My "pals" at PETA want to eat my liver for eating Donald and Daffy's. But I can't think of a better culinary experience than an aged Sauternes (d'Yquem, please) with seared Foie Gras. Truly my greatest favorite flavor combination on the planet. Not as expensive as truffles or caviar, but at around $80 per pound retail for fresh, whole livers, not cheap either. But it's so good!

So what do you think?

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