You’d never know that what looks like a poolside changing room at the Wild Mushroom Boutique Hotel outside Stellenbosch, is actually a mushroom growing lab.
All sorts of things at The Wild Mushroom are not quite what they seem, including the Manager, Dr Adriaan Smit, who happens to be a mycologist –a branch of botany that deals with fungi. Being situated in the Winelands, it seemed logical to run some mushroom and wine pairing events and Saturday lunchtimes seemed like a good time.
Groupon offers a word of mouth bring together bunch of diverse people who sit around a long table, laid beautifully in 5-star style as befits this boutique hotel. The one thing in common is a love of mushrooms and as each of the five food courses appears, so does a new mushroom dish along with another glass of very fine wine.
The smoky, earthy flavoured enoki mushrooms were paired with an easy drinking Frascati; the pink, golden, tree and King oyster mushrooms went well with a Pino Grigio, but the pairing of the day was the strong, meaty porcini with a Chianti/Sangiovese and shitake with a Catherine Marshall Pinot Noir.
I can tell you some surprising facts gleaned from the good Doctor, like the mushroom consumed most frequently in the world is the oyster mushroom (the Chinese seem to like them), number 2 is the shitake mushroom and number 3 is the woodear mushroom! Have you ever heard of that? Me neither. Good old button mushrooms are only at number 4. There are other fascinating things like, don’t eat mushrooms raw and brown mushrooms are just buttons with a different colour cap and some slick marketing.
I’m told that the divinely entertaining wine and food pairing specialist, Katinka van Niekerk often leads the tasting. With her knowledge and humour combined with Adriaan’s skills, you’ll be in mushroom heaven!
Contact Adriaan by email or phone on +27 21 881 3586.
What’s the most interesting pairing you’ve ever attended?