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Issue 124 - Mushroom foraging

Whisky Magazine Issue 124
December 2014


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Mushroom foraging

How to get the best out of your fungi

If I had to choose one item among the best foods to forage for in autumn, mushrooms would certainly come first. Not that I am a good mushroom harvester. I dread picking the wrong ones and poisoning my guests with mushrooms I have picked. When I lived in Paris, I loved wandering among the vegetable stalls in my street market and smelling all those multi-coloured fungi. My choice is much more restricted now because of where I live, on Islay, which means that I can only obtain chesnut or button mushrooms, but you can still do a lot with these. You can also achieve scrumptious pairings with the right whiskies.

I am often asked about what is the best whisky to pair with mushrooms. It is totally dependent on the variety of the mushroom and the way it's going to be cooked. It is also very dependent on what ingredients are used in the recipe. All of these are crucial.

Let's go through the most well-known ones and imagine some tasty preparations. I will skip the black truffle which would require a separate feature. Sometimes known as the ‘diamond of gastronomy' which is how the French 19th Century writer Brillat-Savarin described it. It offers the ultimate luxury fungi experience. Not as out of reach as you may think but still expensive. One Autumn black truffle at 30 grammes would set you back about £35.00.

Button mushrooms are the small white cultivated mushrooms that can be found in all shops. When brown, they are called chestnut or cremini mushrooms. They have an earthy a...

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