Wine Blog

Wild mushrooms from the south of Chile

Today I want to invite you to get to know the forests of Chile, where grow treasures like wild mushrooms. Let this gourmet ingredient to be the protagonist of your cooking and make with it some delicious pairings with wines.

By Ania Smolec / September 04, 2015
Wine Journalist

Chile is the longest country in the world, so do not be surprised that it crosses all possible types of climate, from subtropical to cold steppe of Patagonia. From the central zone and south as Maule, Itata and Bio Bio, to the regions of Los Rios and Los Lagos, you can visit most of native forests with abundant flora and fauna. The native habitants of these lands used to take the treasures of forests to include them in their diet, but also in natural medicine, collecting wood, herbs, fruits, flowers and naturally wild mushrooms.

setas mercado

Nature offers edible mushrooms, but also others that are toxic to the human body. People living in the countryside, for generations know how to recognize one from another. If you want to harvest wild mushrooms, always remember to have a guide or atlas. These publications with photos and descriptions are vital to collect edible mushrooms.

The wild mushroom season begins in spring and lasts until late autumn. One of the first mushrooms of the season is the dihueñe / digüeñe, which grows on the trunks of the oaks. They are round, sweet and have a slightly chewy texture. They can be an ingredient to prepare scrambled eggs, omelets and salads. Pebre (a typical Chilean kind of salad / sauce) is the most traditional way to prepare them, together with fresh coriander, lemon, salt and olive oil.

The other wild mushroom that grows on the trunk of a cut tree is called flamulina. It is hat-shaped and has a characteristic yellow or orange color. It has a very pleasant taste and a consistent and somewhat leathery texture. Eat it with vegetables, alone or simply sautéed, with a little of salt, nutmeg and pepper. In Japan it is cultivated industrially and is highly appreciated in haute cuisine.

One of the most popular mushrooms is the pine mushroom. This type has two structures: a more consistent one, thick and fluffy and a grainier. In the kitchen it is used in stews, soups and with meat. This type of mushroom can be dehydrated and then used in the same recipes, replacing fresh mushrooms.

A mushroom that does not really look like one, but is the most prized by gourmet chefs is the changle. It has a soft, but fibrous texture and soft aroma. Some chefs say its tastes similar to a scrambled egg. However, cooking method and seasonings varies its flavor. It is ideal for using as a filling for pies or to flavor the dishes. It has a yellow color, a branched appearance and has a fragile texture and moist surface. The season of this mushroom begins in the fall and you can very often find it in popular local markets.

A mushroom that has reputation to be really delicate is the morchela. It grows in the semi shadow of native forest and is likely to find it on the edge of the trails. Its geographic distribution in Chile is broad, from the central to the southern tip of the country. It has a delicate and pleasant, slightly sweet taste. Its texture is soft and friendly to the palate.

setas canasta

Mushrooms offer a wide range of recipes, from the most basic, such as stir-fries, soups and stews, to the most elaborate and gourmet ones. In terms of aroma, mushrooms always have an earthy touch, sometimes extended by other notes, as vegetable or fruit or spices (some have notes of apple and anise). If we define the weight of the mushrooms, consider a medium body (between meat and vegetables). The cooking method gives us additional indications and, indeed, each recipe based on mushroom need its own style of wine.

If you want to prepare mushrooms sautéed in butter, an excellent choice is níscalo mushrooms, with its delicate flavor, slightly sweet and with fruity aroma. Its texture is very nice, with great consistency, but always soft. With a pinch of nutmeg and white pepper it is an excellent idea for pasta. The other mushroom highly recommended for this recipe is the gargal, which has a strong, fungal and sweet flavor. Its texture is nice, tough and firm, ideal for soups, as well as for sautéed and with spices from the oven.

Choose your favorite fettuccini and linguini, you can also add some fresh cream, open a bottle of Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Chardonnay and enjoy this combination. I assure you, this Chardonnay has very good body, acreaminess very similar to the one in our plate, and a rich acidity that refreshes our recipe.

If you like fried mushrooms, select the . Its texture is leathery and slightly chewy. When you eat it fried it has a meat-like flavor. It is very appreciated in the world and its nearest competition is the mushroom of Paris. I recommend this dish with Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Sauvignon Blanc. This wine will work well, cutting the frying and cooling our recipe.

A very quick and tasty appetizer for your guests is grilled mushroom. A very favorable range for this recipe is poplar mushroom seta de chopo. Its firm and a little tough consistency, achieves a delicate and tasty fungus flavor. Its ideal pairing is a red wine of medium body, such as Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Malbec.

Now I want to present you a very easy and tasty recipe, and elegant at the same time: mushroom risotto, a classic that has its roots in Italian cuisine. It can be prepared in less than an hour and with a well-chosen wine may create a divine experience in your palate. I assure you that the ideal wine for this risotto is Trio Merlot. It is a wine made from three grape varieties: Merlot, Carmenere and Cabernet Sauvignon. It has an excellent palate with rounded tannins and a rich acidity. This wine captures the various flavors of these strains, including those earthy notes, very favorable for poetically pairing with mushrooms.

  • Digüeñe - ©https://www.flickr.com/xerofito
  • Flamulina
  • Pine Mushroom - ©Holger Krisp
  • Changle - ©Ralf Christian Gamper
  • Morchela
  • Oyster Mushroom
  • Seta del Chopo - ©Strobilomyces
  • Niscalo - ©Strobilomyces

Digüeñe - ©https://www.flickr.com/xerofito

Mushroom risotto

Ingredients 4 people

risotto funghi

• 400 grams of mushrooms: fresh, clean and cut. For example, pine mushrooms

• 400 grams of rice for risotto

• 1/2 cup white wine

• 1 onion, chopped

• 1.5 liters of chicken stock

• 80 grams of butter

• 100 grams of grated Parmesan

• Salt and black pepper

Preparation

  1. Heat the pan and melt half of butter.
  2. Add onion and fry until soft.
  3. Add the mushrooms and fry a few more minutes. Season with salt and add rice and wine. Reduce the liquid.
  4. Pour a glass of broth, wait until the rice absorbs it, and repeat, until broth is completed and the rice is cooked (about 30 minutes).
  5. Put out the fire. Add remaining butter and Parmesan.
  6. Mix and season with freshly ground black pepper.

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