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November 12, 2013
True Story: Awhile back my sister was strolling through the hills and towns of Sicily - I suppose it was just one of those days - and during a fortuitous visit to an outdoor market, picks up for her big sis (that’s me), an honest-to-goodness tube of Truffle Paste. Of course she also picked up a variety of artisinal salts, over 10lbs. actually; besides the fact that it’s super easy to get distracted in an outdoor Sicilian marketplace, I *am* the Queen of Salt, right?
Anyway, we were both over the moon about this truffle paste, until I turned the box over to read the ingredients, and saw Something not too many consumers are aware of these days is the flowery adjectives used when listing the ingredients of food items, and how something so pretty and natural sounding, can in fact be just a ruse. The word “aroma” conjures up such lovely images, wonderful experiences, and such nice, pleasant scents, when in Italian ingredients lingo, the literal translation of aroma is “artificial flavouring.”Unfortunately, this is quickly becoming the norm with a lot of truffle products.
Truffles were extremely rare once upon a time, a specialty item reserved for the rich and resourceful, but with all the expanding food tastes today you can see them just about everywhere. That said, our non-friend “aroma” has become mainstay in the food industry, as is ersatz flavouring: the far lesser Pacific truffles, both in quality and flavour, are being added to or replacing Italian and French truffles, which are bar none.
(For an excellent article on this issue see this New York Times article)
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September 20, 2023