There is no relationship between truffle, truffle aroma and a fresh truffle. However, it does tend to come as a shock to some that the truffle oil you see in your local delicatessen or fine food shop is not made from real truffles at all, but from synthetic flavorings, actually nature identical flavorings that have been determined to exist in natural truffles.
Many people may gasp in horror that what they are enjoying is actually the product of clever organic chemistry rather than tradition and real ingredients.
Most commercial truffle oils are concocted by mixing olive oil with one or more compounds like 2,4-dithiapentane (the most prominent of the hundreds of aromatic molecules that make the flavor of truffles so exciting) that have been created in a laboratory. Their one-dimensional flavour is also changing common understanding of how a truffle should taste.
French truffle growers have had a lot to contend with in recent years, from cheap Chinese imports to drought-stricken summers that parched their soil and withered their produce.
Now they are faced with another enemy they claim is eating away at their livelihoods and threatening to tarnish the exclusive image of their trade: the rise of "truffle-based" foodstuffs that contain no truffle.
The boom in "truffle-scented" or "truffle-flavored" products is largely a rip-off that is attempting to cash in on the lucrative potential of Perigord's great delicacy by using synthetic agents, the growers claim.
"These products have absolutely nothing real about them," said Michel Courvoisier, director of the French federation of trufficulteurs (FFT). "They are just made with chemicals."
Incensed that the array of oils, butters, pasta and other cuisine staples are proving highly successful, the growers are urging a change in the law to make the products' true origins more obvious. They insist they are not against artificial ingredients; they simply want the finished goods to be labeled as such.