A warmer than average start to Autumn delayed the arrival of the local Wild Mushrooms. Wild mushrooms need rain above anything to kick-start the season, and March and April were both drier than normal. However, we are happy to report that both the Pine Forrest and Slippery Jack varieties have finally hit the shelves!
These wild-foraged varieties are beyond comparison to the cultivated white and brown mushrooms that are available year-round. They have much more flavour, and will bring an Autumnal party to any dish.
The Pine Forrest (pictured above) are bright orange and a funky shape. Their fragrance is (surprisingly enough) extremely reminiscent of a Pine Forrest, and they bring a beautiful earthy, woody flavour. They are also a nice strong texture, so they can be cooked longer without going mushy.
The Slippery Jack variety does not win any points in the looks department. They have a pale yellow flesh, capped by a slimy, dark-brown top. Trust us though, what they lack in appearance, they make up for in flavour. The trick is to peel off the brown skin off the top (which comes away relatively easily), this gets rid of the sliminess, and the top can also be a little bitter when cooked. What you are left with is the yellow flesh, which is delicately flavoured, slightly sweet and delicious.
Later in Autumn, and into Winter, we will of course get local Truffles. These come from Tasmania, and depending on the season, can come from as close as the Yarra Valley. To anyone asking what a Truffle tastes like, our usual answer is that they just about beyond comparison. There is nothing quite like the rich, earthy aroma of a truffle. While they are expensive, the local truffles are not quite as expensive as you might imagine. So if you have always wanted to try this rare delicacy, early winter is about the best, most accessible time you can do this. We can help you out with recipes and tips on how to get the most out of cooking a truffle.