It's ironic that having just written a post on the 10 storecupboard ingredients you couldn't live without on my Frugal Cook blog I should come across something that's far from essential but sorely tempting. I mean, truffle salt for heaven's sake! Do you need it?
Well, no you don't but that doesn't mean you wouldn't want it. As one of the readers of my Facebook page commented "I think that a luxury item or two is fine... especially when you live on a tight budget most of the time." Couldn't agree more.
It's made - or rather blended - under the supervision of the Australian chef Tetsuya, better known for his pan-Asian style of cooking.
I was sent some the other day to try and sprinkled it over some cheap steak which I have to say it absolutely transformed, making it taste fabulously savoury and, er, truffley. It also - and this was even more interesting - made the rather rustic red wine I was drinking taste amazingly soft and velvety.
I imagine it would also taste stellar with roast chicken or in mash. Or to season a mushroom risotto.
I also tried the black truffle salsa which I thought was less useful. According to Tetsuya's website you're supposed to stir it into pasta or scrambled eggs which I admit would probably taste nice but would turn them a yukky grey. Or mix it with butter and parmesan, again tasty but not great-looking.
They also sent a vinaigrette for oysters which apparently has "gained a cult following among [Tetsuya's] restaurant patrons". I haven't yet laid my hands on an oyster to taste it with but it seemed rather oily and underseasoned to me. And a vinaigrette just for oysters? Definitely a product you could live without.
The products are imported by a company called The Food Emporium and are also available in John Lewis Food halls at Bluewater and Oxford Street, Fortnum and Mason's, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols.
The truffle salt is - wince - £19.95 for 100g - but a little goes a long way. It would make a great present for a foodie friend - or for yourself if you feel like giving yourself a treat.