Have you ever wanted to try truffle oil?
If you’ve heard much of anything about this delicious culinary ingredient, you’ve probably wanted to try using it for yourself in recipes you prepare at home.
I don’t blame you! Truffle oil is an exciting product that’s got the world of cooking in an uproar. So what can you do if you want to give it a try?
You can check out this article, of course!
There are a lot of different types of truffle oil, and some are considered more high-quality than others, so before you go shopping it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with what you might be looking for. That’s why the first section in this article is meant to explain what types of truffle oil are out there, and what you might find in any given store.
After that, I’ll launch into teaching you everything you need to know about where to find truffle oil in grocery store chains. I’ll give you a list of big chain stores that carry this product, and I’ll tell you what brands you may find in these stores. I’ll even let you know what type of budget you’re looking at for each purchase.
By the time you’ve finished reading here, you’ll be ready to make your choices from the many truffle oil grocery store selections available to you. You’ll be well-versed in truffle oil and you’ll know how to go shopping for it.
So grab your grocery list and let’s start learning!
What Types of Truffle Oil Might I Encounter?
Truffle oil has gotten a lot of attention in the culinary world in recent years. Part of the reason behind this publicity is because it has a little bit of a bad reputation. Unfortunately, many celebrity chefs, TV personalities and other popular individuals in the cooking world have had a lot of negative comments about truffle oil. This is mostly because these chefs believe truffle oil is one-dimensional and that it shouldn’t be used in cooking when real truffles are available. It’s also got something to do with many truffle oils being made from synthetic ingredients instead of fresh ones.
As a home chef, however, you probably don’t have a lot of access to real, fresh truffles, and that’s okay! While truffle oil might not win you any points if you happen to find yourself cooking for a popular TV chef, most others are very fond of this delicious ingredient. Before you go shopping for the perfect bottle of truffle oil, there are a few things you need to keep in mind to help make your search go as easily as possible.
- Black truffle oil is a common type of truffle oil, but perhaps a little bit less common than the white variety. It is usually sold in smaller containers, namely because a little bit goes a long way. The flavor of black truffle oil is dark and rich, with an earthy aroma and a hint of muskiness to it. It’s usually used for recipes with heavier meat ingredients like steak or pork, and it’s also sometimes paired with Portobello mushrooms. It may be made with summer or winter black truffles from anywhere around the world.
- White truffle oil is more common than black truffle oil, even though white truffles are rarer overall than black ones are. This is a lighter oil that doesn’t absorb the flavor of the truffle quite as noticeably, making it a great option for flavoring dishes that don’t need to be too overpowered. White truffle oil has a garlic flavor with a bit of the same mustiness that comes in black truffle oil. It’s got an ammonia-like smell that works nicely with mushrooms, chicken, and even eggs.
- Real truffle oil is made from pieces of real truffles that have been chopped, shaved, or grated into a high-quality extra virgin olive oil. The taste of the truffles infuses the oil over time, and slowly, the oil begins to take on the flavor given off by these real truffle pieces. Real truffle oil should always be packaged with a few pieces of truffle in the bottom of the bottle to show that it is authentic.
- Synthetic truffle oil is made from a chemically engineered gas that is made to taste exactly like the real gas given off by truffles over time. Olive oil is infused with this chemical to give it a very similar flavor to the real thing. Although the tastes may be close to the same, synthetic truffle oil is sometimes frowned upon because it doesn’t contain real truffle pieces. In the end, the choice of whether or not to use this product is entirely up to you and your budget.
Which Chain Stores Carry Truffle Oil?
Okay, so you’ve learned a little bit about the types of truffle oil you’re likely to come across in grocery stores. You know what to expect in terms of quality, as well as ingredients used in the oil itself. But you’ve still got a lot of questions, right? You’re probably sitting there asking yourself, “But where is truffle oil in grocery store chains, and how can I choose the right store to shop in?”
Don’t worry! I’ve barely scratched the surface of explaining truffle oil to you, and I have plenty more information to help make your purchase go smoothly.
- Whole Foods – This is probably one of the first stores you think of when you consider where to pick up unique gourmet cooking ingredients. Whole Foods has become a popular place for anyone interested in trying flavors from around the world, as well as those who prefer to purchase organic and cruelty-free products. This store usually carries one or two brands of truffle oil, but you may need to wait until the product is in season before you see it on the shelves here.
- Trader Joe’s – Trader Joe’s is a similar store to Whole Foods, in that it carries a variety of unique ingredients, some of which are gourmet in nature. Trader Joe’s tends to sell large quantities of food items, so if you’re looking for a bigger bottle of truffle oil, this might be the right place to find it. The brands available here may vary by region, but the store carries its own line of truffle oil. Depending on the time of year, you might also be able to find other truffle products at Trader Joe’s, such as jarred truffles or truffle butter.
- Target – Chances are you probably aren’t far from a Target store, wherever you might be located. This is a widespread chain store that carries truffle oil, although you might be surprised to find out that you can locate this kind of an ingredient on the shelves of most Target stores. You can find truffle oil in the baking aisle in most cases, near the coconut oil and other unique varieties of oil. Most Target stores carry a couple of different brands of truffle oil to help you find the right one for you.
- Publix – Publix stores are not as widespread as Target, Whole Foods, and even Trader Joe’s might be, but they’re slowly becoming more and more prevalent around the United States. There are plenty of Publix store options in the southern and southeastern parts of the country, so if you’re in one of these two areas, head to the nearest Publix and see for yourself what great quality truffle oil you can find on the shelves here. Publix carries one or two brands, depending on the store you visit, and you should be able to find both black and white truffle oil options here.
What Brands Might I Find in Stores?
Have you narrowed down the stores where you might find truffle oil in your area? Of course, if you live in a smaller town, you might not be surrounded by all of these different shopping options, but that’s okay. You’re likely to have at least one nearby, and if not, you can always see about making an order through the store’s website. Whichever way you choose to get your truffle oil, you should consider the different brands that will likely be available when you visit the store of your choice. Below, I’ve made a list of the most well-represented brands of truffle oil in grocery store chains.
- Roland – Found at Publix, this is one of the nicest truffle oil brands you can locate regularly in stores. Roland truffle oil is available in both black and white varieties to help fit the needs of just about any recipe. It’s always made with high-quality extra virgin olive oil, so you never have to be worried about the strength of the oil itself. It is also infused with real pieces of truffle to give this oil a very authentic flavor. However, if you’re trying to stay away from synthetic ingredients altogether, bear in mind that this oil’s flavor is improved by also including man-made truffle aroma.
- Trader Joe’s – Trader Joe’s makes its own line of truffle oil. This oil is available in only a black truffle variety, but it is quite popular since the price is usually pretty low. Bear in mind, however, that Trader Joe’s brand of truffle oil is made only from synthetic truffle ingredients. There are no pieces of real truffle in this product.
- Monini – This is a product that is most commonly found in stores like Target. It is made from synthesized flavors that are designed to give this product the taste of white truffles. It is not available in a black truffle variety, and it does not contain any real pieces of fresh truffle.
- Spectrum – Spectrum is also usually available in Target stores. It is always made from quality organic olive oil, as this company is devoted to providing organic products. However, the flavor of the truffle is synthetic in nature. If you’re looking for a good combination of nice oil and lower-cost truffle ingredients, this brand might be a good solution for you.
- Urbani – This brand is not always available, and if you’re looking for it when truffles aren’t really in season, you might be better off shopping from the company’s website instead of relying on a store to carry the oil you’re looking for. With that said, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are more likely to have this brand than other chain stores. If you’re interested in trying one of the most well-known and highly respected truffle oil brands, keep your eyes peeled for this one. Urbani truffle oil is available in black and white varieties and is made with both real truffle pieces and synthetic truffle aroma.
How Much Should I Budget?
Now that you understand which stores carry truffle oil and which brands you’re most likely to come across, you can start figuring out your truffle oil budget. As we’ve already discussed, there are different types of truffle oil, and if you aren’t concerned with getting one made from synthetic ingredients, then you can do a lot about saving your money and purchasing a much more cost-efficient oil. However, if you’re more focused on getting a real truffle oil, you’ll need to adjust your budget to accommodate that. In this section, I’ll give you a price range to consider depending on the store you’ll be shopping at.
- Whole Foods brands – When Whole Foods has Urbani oils in stock, be prepared to spend at least $14 for a small bottle of white or black truffle oil. These are higher-quality oils that should be budgeted for appropriately. If you want to pick up a bottle of nice truffle oil, it’s worth your while to wait for Whole Foods to stock this brand.
- Trader Joe’s brands – Trader Joe’s own brand of black truffle oil comes in at only $5 for a small bottle. This is likely because the oil is made with no real truffle essence at all, and because it is a “store brand,” which tend to sell for lower prices overall than bigger name brands. This is a great option if you just want to try synthetic truffle oil without spending too much money for your first taste of it.
- Target brands – Monini is a very low-cost brand of truffle oil. You can get a mid-size bottle of this oil for about $8 to $10, depending on where and when you purchase it. Spectrum oils may cost a little bit more, by just a few dollars, since the oil itself is considered organic. However, Spectrum also makes a white truffle oil spray that can be purchased for only about $6 a bottle.
- Publix brands – The Roland brand of black and white truffle oil sold at Publix stores runs around $10 for a three-ounce bottle. This may seem a little bit pricey, but remember that this is one of the only brands available in large chain stores that contains pieces of real truffle. If you have some extra funds in your grocery budget, you might want to make the splurge on this nice product.
When Should I Shop for Truffle Oil?
Did you know that you can make a difference in your truffle oil shopping by purchasing it at certain times of the year? While it’s certainly possible to buy truffle oil whenever you feel like it, buying at different times may mean that you’re looking at very different prices. It’s also a good idea to buy your truffle oil before the bottle you currently have expires. In this section, I’ll give you several pointers about how timing your truffle oil shopping can really help when it comes to buying on a budget.
- Truffles are usually harvested at two times during the year. If you are buying truffle oil made from real truffles, the truffle harvest can make a huge difference in the price you’re paying as well as the freshness of your truffle oil. Remember that if you’re trying to save some money by purchasing at the right time of the year, you shouldn’t start shopping right at the beginning of the truffle harvesting season. Wait until the season is either almost over or has just ended. This way, you’ll be more likely to find oil that has just been made recently from freshly picked truffles.
- Summer truffles are harvested beginning in May and running until about August. These truffles are almost always black summer truffles, or Burgundy truffles if they’re harvested from the Burgundy region of France. They usually have less powerful flavors and aromas than those picked in the wintertime, and because of this they tend to cost less. Black summer truffles may even be found in Oregon and North Carolina, as well as other places around the United States.
- Winter truffles are harvested starting in the late autumn, usually around November, until January or February. These truffles include winter black and winter white varieties, and they also include the two most highly valued truffles in the world: the Perigord black winter truffle and the Alba white winter truffle. If you plan to look for oil made from either of these very pricey types of truffle, be sure to wait until shortly after the harvest season has passed for them, and be ready to spend money to get this product.
- Of course, if you’re buying synthetic truffle oil, the truffle harvest may have less of an effect on the price of these oils. However, it still may cause the price to decrease a bit due to supply. The more types of truffle oil are available at a certain time, the more likely it is that the oil you find will cost less.
- The price of truffle oil tends to go up around the holiday season since it’s often given as a gift. If you want to give this item as a gift too, pick it up a little bit before the holiday season rolls around to save a little in the long run.
- Last but not least, remember to shop for truffle oil when yours has expired. An opened bottle of truffle oil can last about four months in the pantry or about eight months in the refrigerator. If you find that you are nearing the end of your oil’s shelf life, go ahead and stock up on more when the time is right.
As you can see, there is a lot to learn when it comes to buying truffle oil! Although there’s nothing to keep you from walking into a grocery store and buying the first bottle labeled “truffle oil” you come across, there are a lot of great options out there that you might not ever discover if you don’t keep the tips from this article in mind. The more you understand about shopping for truffle oil, the better off you’ll be when it comes time to buy your first bottle or restock your pantry with this delicious ingredient.
But you might be wondering which store I recommend for your big name chain grocery truffle oil needs. It’s true that I do most of my shopping for this great product at a couple of specific chains. I tend to prefer the Roland brand of truffle oil carried by Publix stores for the most part. I think this is the best way to get the taste of real truffles in your oil without having to compromise too much on convenience and price. Publix stores are nice, too, because if one location doesn’t carry this product, they can order it for you. However, not every part of the country has Publix stores, so my runner-up choice is Whole Foods.
No matter where you to choose to do your truffle oil shopping, now you should have all the information you need to make the right decision. If you choose to pick up a low-cost bottle of oil from. Target without worrying about the synthesized ingredients or you prefer to save up and purchase a more authentic bottle from Whole Foods when it’s available, you’ll be ready to cook with the oil of your choice in no time!