Matsutake Mushrooms: The most expensive mushrooms from Japan
Have you had or heard of matsutake mushrooms before? Matsutake is the kind of mushroom that people in Japan go a bit wild about when it’s in season from September to October. Because of their fragrant aroma and absurdly high price, they are considered the “King of Mushrooms.”
Expensive? How Expensive?
A piece of domestically produced matsutake can cost around $100 ($1,000 per pound). They are very expensive because they can only be harvested in their natural habitats. Unlike shimeji or shiitake mushrooms, matsutake mushrooms cannot be grown in farms or factories.
What Does Matsutake Taste Like?
You’re probably wondering how tasty these extremely pricy mushrooms are. (To be honest, I’d only had a few matsutake so far. Even then, I was too preoccupied with the price to truly enjoy them!)
They say that it is their aroma, not their flavour, that should be enjoyed and appreciated. Because of their natural habitat, matsutake mushrooms have a cinnamon-like aroma and a distinct flavour that is spicy and piney.
Matsutake Mushrooms Dishes
Matsutake are typically cooked in a simple way to bring out their strong umami and fragrance. Matsutake gohan (rice cooked with dashi stock and matsutake) is a very popular dish. Another popular way to enjoy matsutake is grilling them over binchotan charcoal and serving with a squeeze of sudachi (Japanese sour citrus).
Matsutake mushrooms can now sometimes be found in Asian supermarkets outside of Japan. Please give them a try if you come across them!