Wasabi, Truffle Oil and Single Clove Garlic.

I am pretty sure most of you know of Wasabi, that green hot paste type Japanese condiment that is used with Sushi and other Japanese  meals. However did you also know that Wasabi is difficult to cultivate, and that makes it quite expensive. Outside of Japan it is rare to find wasabi plants and therefore, due  to its high cost, what one buys is usually a mixture of horseradish, mustard, starch and green food coloring. Often packages are labeled as wasabi, but the ingredients do not actually include any or little real Wasabi. I believe that high end Japanese restaurant do use real wasabi and will grate it for you at the table ( have to admit to having not seen this being done in London). Looking at my box  of “hot and spicy grated horseradish ” it contains  24% horseradish,  and only 1.6% wasabi. It also contains various E numbers, colorants and Soy ( in case you are allergic to soy.! 

 Another product, that I have had an ongoing gripe about is, truffle oil! Celebrity chefs, wax lyrical about the stuff, TV cooks both amatuer and professional use it and so the home cook, thinks, I can do that as well. I too was fooled by what would seem to be a remarkably successful scam on foodie culture: truffle oil. 

Despite the name, almost all truffle oil does not contain even trace amounts of truffle; it is olive oil mixed with 2,4-dithiapentane, a compound that makes up part of the smell of truffles, is artificial and is made in a laboratory ! Essentially, truffle oil is olive oil plus truffles’  rather unpleasant  smell. Looking up  food sites you can find Truffle oil from about £5.50 for 250Mls, ( waitrose)   ( ingredients stated as olive oil and flavouring) to Carluccio’s Oilio al Tartufo,     ( ingredients, olive oil 99.9% and white truffle 0.1%) a Bit of a rip off! Even more outrageous in my opinion, is the TRUFFLE HUNTER, who claims they have a superior concentated Black Truffle oil, when looking at the ingredients, it states, Extra Virgin Olive oil, Olive oil ( I assume that is Bog standard olive oil) , black truffles( I think that it should read a smidgin of black truffle, as you can see a tiny bit floating around) and black truffle flavouring. They do not elaborate on the flavouring but I can assure you it is nothing more thatn Cheap as Chips, 2.4 dithiapentane, and if Himself  still had a laboratory, I am sure he could conjure me up some.  

 One of the leading brands is Urbani, from Italy ( $25 for 250 mls ) and as you can see from the lable, it pretends to be White truffle oil, BUT look at the lable. One American blog, states that he finds the smell of Truffle oil to be a real Aphrodisiac, but he too was fooled, by this scam. Wikepedia, tells the obvious with top American foodies, declaring it should be outlawed. 

 However , we have already understood that truffles are fairly rare and expensive, they can cost  as much as €10,000 per kilo, so why am I suprised that we are fobbed off with something that contains almost NO truffles.
So what else is new on the food scene. Well the younger himself, as previously stated, wondered why on earth I was taking so much stuff to France, including Garlic, I might add. BUT have you seen or tried this ( to me) new type of garlic. it is single bulb garlic, easy to peel, easy to squash with a knife, or in a garlic press. I love it! It also known as  monobulb garlic, single bulb garlic, or pearl garlic, is a variety of Allium sativium and the single clove is about 25-40 mm in diameter. It tatses like garlic though maybe a bit milder. It originates in Yunnan province in Southern China.  In the Uk one of the retailers is Lidl, the German discount supermarket.  


6 thoughts on “Wasabi, Truffle Oil and Single Clove Garlic.

  1. Interesting!! I have never seen a single clove garlic.


    From: oystersandchampagne Reply-To: oystersandchampagne Date: Sunday, 26 July 2015 12:41 To: Yukiko Sugimoto Subject: [New post] Wasabi, Truffle Oil and Single Clove Garlic.

    WordPress.com Oysters and Champagne posted: “I am pretty sure most of you know of Wasabi, that green hot paste type Japanese condiment that is used with Sushi and other Japanese meals. However did you also know that Wasabi is difficult to cultivate, and that makes it quite expensive. Outside o”


  2. Hi Very interesting ! Didn’t know about single clove garlic . Have you tried truffle honey – drizzled over some good Italian Parmesan pieces – a few walnuts – heaven Glad we are not in Blighty just now – might go rusty




  3. Thanks for this Sue – fascinating. I am buying no more truffle oil but am rushing off to our local Lidl in search of single bulb garlic. !

    Hope your stay in France is fun with lots of visits from family. We are in Belgium and the weather is awful. Sophia and Verity are coming to stay for a week on Wednesday without their parents so hope they are not too homesick. Off to Orkney beginning of August then Verbier for Findlay’s wedding. Back home beginning of September in time to celebrate our 38th wedding anniversary on 3 Sep. I can’t believe we are still talking to each other after so long plus 4 years before that !

    Lots of love to everyone

    Cate xx

    Sent from my iPhone



  4. You may be surprised to know that I was listening in cookery class when you talked about wasabi all those years ago. I know Annick has some and will check it out later. It will not surprise you that I don’t have any! As for the garlic, it may take a while before it reaches the other side of the world but I will make it my mission to check Sydney and Auckland for it. Elaine

    Liked by 1 person

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