The Real Reason Truffle Fries Are A Waste Of Money

Nothing makes a meal feel more luxurious than a few shavings of black French truffle or white Italian truffle on top, but the next time you're out to eat at a restaurant you should remember that truffle fries can actually be a huge waste of money. That's because many truffle fries are flavored with truffle oil which, believe it or not, doesn't actually have any real truffle in it (via Tasting Table). Don't you love it when restaurants lie to you about what's in their food

Traditionally, truffle oil was made from olive oil had been infused with actual truffles, but these days most truffle oil is actually just olive oil that's mixed with synthetic 2,4-dithiapentane, one of the chemical compounds that give truffles their signature smell and flavor. It's made in a lab, doesn't actually contain truffles, and often lacks the complex flavor that real truffles can bring to your meal (via The New York Times).

Some chefs, like Grant Achatz of Alinea Restaurant in Chicago, have admitted to using truffle oil, but usually in very small amounts, and only when paired with actual truffles; the late, great food critic Jonathan Gold likened the flavor of truffle oil to "a slap in the face."

A lot of famous chefs agree with Gold's assessment of the ingredient. Anthony Bourdain once said that "truffle oil is not food," Martha Stewart has said that truffle oil "doesn't belong in anyone's kitchen," and Gordon Ramsay, in his signature hyperbolic style, is quoted as calling truffle oil "one of the most pungent, ridiculous ingredients ever known to a chef" (via Hungry Forever). 

The next time you go out to eat, save your money. There's no need to shell out extra for those truffle fries when they're not even really made with truffles — you're better off getting regular fries and a cocktail instead.