Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Mushroom Show in Mesagne's Castle

Part of The Ongoing Mushroom and Wine Pairing Experiment



The town of Mesange, in Puglia, celebrated its plethora of local mushroom varietals--both poisonous and edible--by covering long tables (set up in the basement of its beautiful castle) with the brilliant and sometimes creepy fungi. It was truly amazing to be able to see all of the different varieties and to know that they all grow naturally in the surrounding area (A friend went specifically to train herself to be better at identifying mushrooms when she goes out hunting). The mushrooms were labeled:

Edible
Edible but Without Value
Suspect
Toxic
Deadly

The mushrooms spewing black goo didn't require the "Mortale" sign card beneath them: No way I was pairing them with a Chianti!



I was pleasantly surprised the next day, when walking down the street, to come across a stand of mushrooms being sold out of someone's front door that was almost as impressive as those at the castle. I quickly bought around 2 lbs for 4 euro and rushed home to show my girlfriend Kristin. "They're blue," she exclaimed!

When I returned home later that evening, Kristin surprised me with homemade sagne (a twirly pasta from Lecce) with a mixture of the mushrooms with a white-wine cream sauce.



We tested out a local novello wine made from Negroamaro and Malvasia. The wine is sfuso wine, and we bought 3 liters for 4 euro. It is very good everyday drinking wine. It tastes so fresh, so fruity, and so grapey that I think it will be a good wine to test against umami. But last night, we simply enjoyed it. Tonight, we will pair it with homemade mushroom mezzalune (literally, half-moons), which are similar to ravioli. In particular, I will be looking for any lessening of aromas and enhancement of unwanted flavor textures. Talk to you soon---

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