And we are not talking giant mushrooms; the ones on the picture were max. 5 inches long. I took the picture a couple of days ago in a Tokyo supermarket.
Our product is the "pine mushroom", or matsutake. I wrote about it already in more detail in Hungarian, and I tasted it, too. Well, not these ones, because the perfect shape and length can raise the price quite heavily. It can happen in Japan that a perfectly shaped melon costs hundreds of dollars, while the good taste is not guaranteed at all. That's the case with the matsutake as well. The billionaires, who want to show off, buy the good-looking, longer ones, and those who want to eat it, are fine with the shorter stalks.
When I tasted it last November I was already planning to try it in Japan, and now it finally came true. And in a very unique restaurant, the 2 Michelin-starred Ryouriya SO in Sapporo! This is the restaurant with the highest average of Michelin stars per guest since it only has 4 seats. I will write about it in more detail later on.
This is how the matsutake looks like when it's obviously not filled with sheep cheese and fried, but is used in small portions as a condiment in soups or rice dishes. Basically, it has the same role as the truffle in Europe. (Although I have never seen truffle in a soup - what a pity, come to think of it!)
The chef is arriving with the soup:
And after. Soups arriving with a cover have a big advantage, not only visually but also because of the suddenly released aromas: they never fail to impress. And not to mention they pique your curiosity! It's a bit like opening Christmas presents.
The plating also serves to satisfy your visual hunger. In the
The whole dish is very rich, yet delicate, aromatic, a perfect balance, a magnificent incarnation of the Japanese cuisine.
I traveled with KLM to Japan.