Well, damn, I missed it. October 15th is National Eat Mushrooms Day. It also just happens to be National Drink Red Wine Day. Hey! A match made in heaven, and I just happen to live where that match is so easy to make.
Just outside of the Sonoma County town of Sebastopol is Gourmet Mushrooms Inc. And, Sonoma County is no stranger to small, family owned wineries who produce superb, hand crafted estate red wines.
The tour I took at Gourmet Mushrooms was fascinating. I learned that although mushrooms are in a kingdom of their own, the Fungi kingdom, and further, I learned that mushrooms are more closely related to animals than they are to vegetables in that they require oxygen.
I have loved mushrooms all my life, (must be part Hobbit,) but I had never had any but the standard ones available in most markets. Well, once you begin exploring the world of mushrooms you will discover flavors and textures you never dreamed of. It’s sort of like once you begin exploring the world of wine and discover that there is a whole wide world beyond table red and table white, each being remarkably distinctive from the other.
Below are sever mushroom recipes that I designed to go with Merlot, in particular, St. Francis Merlot, however you may of course enjoy them with any Merlot, or any full bodied, fruity, but not sweet red wine. St. Francis, incidentally was the first winery in California to use Merlot as a varietal instead of just a blending grape.
And, just as these recipes may be enjoyed with any good California red, they may also be made with the common mushrooms available in most markets. Of course they will be different, but they will non the less, be delectable.