Matsutake (Japanese: 松茸, pine mushroom) is the common name for a highly sought-after mycorrhizal mushroom that grows in Asia, Europe, and North America. It is prized by the Japanese and Chinese for its distinct spicy-aromatic odour.
Habitat and distribution
Matsutake grow under trees and are usually concealed under fallen leaves and duff on the forest floor. It forms a symbiotic relationship with the roots of a limited number of tree species. Matsutake are known to grow in China, Japan, Korea, Laos, Canada, Finland, the United States, Sweden, among other countries.
In Japan it is most commonly associated with Japanese Red Pine. The association of matsutake with pine trees, the Japanese symbol of longevity, has created a close connection with their cultural identity, which is probably a significant reason for matsutake being the world’s most expensive mushroom.
Availability and Substitution in Australia
- These are extremely difficult to find – if you are fortunate enough to know of a reliable supplier please let us know
- Dried matsutakes aren’t nearly as flavourful. Avoid canned matsutakes, they’re even worse than dried.
- Substitute with Portobello (especially for grilling) or Shiitake, however do not expect the same spicy aromatic flavour.