An autumnal food
What kind of mushrooms do you usually eat in your country? Even if you’ve never visited Japan, you probably have already heard or even eaten shiitake, a mushroom heavily used in Japanese cuisine. But did you know that the king of mushrooms is called “matsutake”. It’s been eaten ever since 3B.C. and clay doll remains made from matsutake mushrooms have also been discovered. Today, it is still a popular precious food that’s eaten in Japan, only available during autumn.
The diversity of matsutake dishes
There are many kinds of dishes that use matsutake such as matsutake steamed rice, grilled matsutake, and chawan-mushi. (Chawan-mushi is steamed boiled egg with various seasonings and matsutake mushroom.) The harvest season from matsutake is from the end of August to the end of November, but the best time to eat them is during September and October. The texture of matsutake is unique and tastes delicious! You can try them at any Ryokan (Japanese traditional inn) or in nice Japanese restaurants. It might be a little pricey, but you can sometimes find it at Japanese family restaurants.
The wild matsutake are rare.
Matsutake grow on a pine tree called “akamatsu”. It’s hard to artificially grow matsutake and its harvest has declined due to the changing environment around akamatsu pine trees, thus increasing their price. Matsutake mushrooms have been imported from Korea, China, Scandinavia, and North America, but it’s said only Japanese people like to eat them.