The Matsutake Season

Featured in a multitude of recipes, matsutake is undoubtedly the king of autumnal cuisine in Japan

  • The Matsutake Season
  • The Matsutake Season
  • The Matsutake Season

Matsutake is an exquisitely Japanese ingredient mentioned in the Man’yoshū and Kokinwakashū anthologies of Japanese poetry, whose distinctive scent has made it famous worldwide.
Matsutake mushrooms grow in red pine forests, as well as in forests were conifers are predominant. They appear at the end of August in cooler areas, whereas at warmer latitudes such as Kyūshū, you may have to wait until November. Matsutake cannot be grown artificially, which makes it rare and precious. They must be harvested before the cap opens completely, otherwise the scent and flavour will dissolve.
Here is a list of restaurants where you can enjoy this wonderful seasonal ingredient paired with a glass of Japanese sake.
Wakuta (Ginza)
Wakuta’s autumn special is hamo eel and matsutake, a delicacy scrupulously prepared with the last eels of the season and the early mushrooms, served in a eel bone and konbu broth, seasoned with sake and soy sauce.
Mao (Ginza)
Located at only a three-minute walk from Ginza Station, Mao offers Japanese traditional food prepared with the freshest ingredients from Tsukiji Market. In autumn you can taste matsutake mushrooms steamed in earthenware pots (dobinmushi), in a friendly ambience, where you can relax and make yourself at home.
Matsukawa (Roppongi)
At Matsukawa, meticulously selected ingredients, remarkable preparation and pure Japanese style combine with the casual ambience of a counter bar, where you can savour grilled beef, with fragrant matsutake, mountain yam and gingko, in a set dinner menu or à la carte.
Kikunoi (Akasaka)
This restaurant is renowned for the richness of its ingredients, especially the vegetables, grown in and around Kyoto, where the chain is headquartered. The speciality is dobinmushi with matsutake and hamo eel from Awaji Island, served in a delicate Kyoto style soup. If you are sitting at the counter, you can observe the skilfulness of the kitchen staff preparing the quintessence of Kyoto’s culinary heritage. All the dishes are available in the set dinner menu.
Gatō (Aoyama)
It is a modern restaurant, with counter seats and carefully selected ingredients, which include Kuroge beef and freshly caught fish. Dobimushi is a speciality, prepared with ingredients that vary from season to season. Autumn is the undisputed apogee of matsutake soup, served in small earthenware pots.

Author : The Slowear Journal


Tokyo  | Matsutake  | mushroom  | kaiseki-ryōri  | haute cuisine  | multi-course  |

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