<table border="0" align="right" width="275"><tr><td><img src="http://www.wineloverspage.com/graphics1/porcini.jpg" border="1" align="right"></td></tr></table>Thank god for people like Malcolm Clark. "A British born biologist, Clark traveled in the early 1970';s to Japan where he met Tsuneto Yoshii, a renowned mycologist exploring the medicinal uses of fungi. The experience," according to an October 2006 article in Saveur magazine, "opened Clark's eyes to mushrooms but only as far as their curative properties were concerned. In 1977 he moved to Sonoma County and with his business partner David Law, formed Gourmet Mushrooms Inc. The company name notwithstanding, Clark at first grew and marketed mushrooms (initially, only shitake) solely for therapeutic purposes. He soon realized, however, that for the venture to survive, he would also have to sell mushrooms as food."
Because of Clark and others like him, North Americans who do not, by proclivity or geography, care to forage the dark, dank places where mushrooms grow themselves, can purchase fresh, formerly wild mushrooms with names like namekos, trumpet, clamshells, morels, pioppinis, are sometimes available in select grocery stores, and shitakes, chantarelles, and oyster mushrooms are often sold in bulk right there next to the classic white mushrooms and brown criminis. Chef Albino, who chose this topic and who lives in Switzerland, will hopefully chime in and address the situation in Europe.
And of course, those who live closer to the forests may forage for themselves, or buy from those who do at Farmer's Markets many of the mushrooms named above and others like lobster, hen-of-the-woods, lions mane and cloud ear, just to name a few.
One of the things I want to do this month is recreate the first wild mushroom dish I ever had. It was in Zurich, Switzerland, coincidentally enough, and it was a course in a multi-course dinner where each diner was served their own divine little copper skillet of chantarelles in a reduced cream sauce flavored like a masala curry. Such were the ethereal flavors of that dish that I remember it in detail to this day but could not tell you what else we ate that night, even though it was by quite a margin the single most spectacular meal I'd had the pleasure of by that point in my life.
Please join us this month as we explore the constantly expanding world of fresh wild mushrooms. Make a dish you've never had before or reacquaint yourself with an old favorite and tell us about it.
Now excuse me, I'm off to see The Mushroom Guy at the Bellingham Farmers Market!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov