A Food & Travel Blog

Australia’s first local wild Porcini mushrooms found in Adelaide Hills!

30/03/2011 | By

I have some very exciting news to share with you all today.  The restaurant kitchens of Adelaide are all buzzing with the hottest food news around – the confirmed discovery of wild Adelaide-hills grown Porcini mushrooms!

This magnificent specimen is one of a haul of about 4 kilograms of locally found Porcini that made it’s way to Marco Marinelli, The Mushroom Man, this week – and is among the first to be found growing wild  in Australia.

The timing of the appearance of this gourmet treat simply  couldn’t have been more advantageous.  Yesterday, I was lucky enough to take part in an Adelaide Central Market tour and luncheon hosted by the South Australian Tourism Commission, along with a  group of Eastern states journalists.  While I was waiting to meet with my group, I bumped in to Marco who gleefully told me his very exciting news.  As our Central Market and Central Market kitchen excursion was intended to specifically showcase the outstanding food produce, products and talents that we enjoy here in South Australia, I wasted no time in sharing this remarkable announcement with my gobsmacked associates.

Porcini are considered to be the most highly prized of the edible fungi and are valued for their meaty texture and nutty flavour.  They grow wild under Oak trees throughout most of Europe and are to be found in Poland, France and Croatia.  By far, the worlds largest supplier of these tasty morsels is Italy where they are a particular favourite and sometimes known as “poor man’s meat”.  While it is possible in Australia to obtain some fresh Porcini which have been imported from Europe, they do not travel well and the dried versions are most commonly used by Australian cooks and chefs.  As I wrote  last week, the stories of wild Porcini in Australia have been around for quite some time so the actual presentation of the real thing has caused much excitement in culinary circles.  This excitement is heightened by the knowledge that wild Porcini are often found growing in the same areas as that other rare, prized and extremely costly fungal favourite – wild truffles – so hope is springing in many a local foodie chest at the moment.

Only a very few of Adelaide’s chefs were able to get hold of these mushrooms and they are being treated with all the respect one would expect.  Chef Toby Gush of noted Adelaide Italian restaurant, Chianti Classico added to his menu a dish of fresh chestnut pasta accompanied by a dried Porcini sauce with fried, fresh Porcini folded through it – but you had to be quick!  One or two other chefs managed to get hold of a few for themselves, but Vince Montagna of  Vincenzo’s Cucina Vera has the lions share and is planning a national debut for them!

As for the splendid mushroom pictured – it was reverently handed over to Cole Thomas and Lachlan Colwill (of The Manse).  They were charged with gastronomically seducing  our group of Melbourne and Brisbane journalists using the exemplary South Australian produce which is available, including Cleanseas South Australian Kingfish, Coorong Angus Beef, Barossa Valley Cheese Company cheeses and a selection of our wines.    We were a largeish group, so there wasn’t a lot of mushroom each, but what there was, sliced and fried, was simply  wonderful!

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Comments

  1. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    31/03/2011

    I can imagine how excited they were to discover them! I was just in NZ and a chef found porcinis of the grounds of the lodge that I was staying at. They’re like gold!

  2. Anna Johnston
    31/03/2011

    Wowee huh, now that is a fabulous discovery, darn right exciting actually 🙂

  3. celia
    01/04/2011

    Fantastic! First truffles, now porcini, great to have locally grown! 🙂

  4. Kate
    01/04/2011

    An amazing find right under South Australian noses !

  5. Joanna
    02/04/2011

    Have they always been there? Have the spores blown in on the wind? How wonderful and mysterious – I love porcini!

  6. Amanda
    02/04/2011

    Mandy – It was a big mushroom and almost didn’t look real!
    Lorraine – I had heard that they can grow them in NZ where, I suppose, they get just as excited.
    Anna – As a chef, I’m sure you can appreciate the thrill here.
    Celia – Truffles will be next on the list for SA, I’m sure.
    Kate – Amazing is right, although I suspect that there may be a few who have been picking them privately for a while.

  7. Amanda
    02/04/2011

    Joanna – I’m not really sure how they got there, although I doubt it was naturally. I think they might have had some help. 😉

  8. cityhippyfarmgirl
    03/04/2011

    Now that would be exciting! I love how enthusiastic you are for your local food Amanda.

  9. frank
    04/04/2011

    these mushrooms are found in the wild and as such they are for all to eat and enjoy….not just the few chefs who can afford a price tag of $120.00 per kg.
    I have the right to know where they are found so I can go and pick some too

  10. Meow-Ludo
    04/04/2011

    The porcini mushrooms are mycorrhizal mushrooms: they form a symbiotic relationship with a plant. In this case it looks as though it was an oak tree. Often wild gourmet mushrooms can be bound growing near pines and other imported trees. The current consensus, I believe, is that most of these mushrooms were imported with various european trees attached to their roots as stow-aways.

    Feel free to contact me at stuart dot mckellar at gmail dot com if you have any more mushroom questions 🙂

  11. Amanda
    04/04/2011

    Brydie – I love to boast to South Australians and the rest of the world about the fantastic food we have right here on our doorstep!
    Frank – If you want some, I suspect you will need to start hunting for yourself. The foragers who supply these mushrooms are not at all likely to divulge their secret picking spots – Marco is not even told precisely where they are from.
    Meow – Thanks for the tip!

  12. Cakelaw
    04/04/2011

    Man, that is one massive mushroom!

  13. Hungry Female
    05/04/2011

    Wowoweeewow! Fungitastic! Mushrooms are one of my true loves, and was so happy to see some in full glory in the Adelaide Central Market. What are Ozzie truffles like? I hear there is a Truffle Festival in Perth? HF xx

  14. Lucy
    06/04/2011

    If I found them I would not be selling them for the world, especially as I suspect, there cant be that many.

  15. Amanda
    06/04/2011

    Gaye – Certainly was a whopper – and very tasty!
    Hungry Female – I’ve not tried Australian truffles yet, so can’t say.
    Lucy – I’ve heard from several chefs around town that they’ve had some.

  16. Sarah @ For the Love of Food
    08/04/2011

    How lovely to think we could try these incredible fungi fresh instead of dried (maybe one day they’ll be more commonly available)!

  17. Jenn Brigole
    11/04/2011

    And who wouldn’t get excited over this amazing specimen?! That sure is one fresh big meat! Wow! 🙂

  18. robett rossini
    08/08/2011

    hello and congratulations to the lucky discoverer! Porcini grows under under wide varieties of trees, like oak, fraxinus, olmus ,birch and three or four varieties of beeches.A way that the old timers who lived nest to aforest of the above mentioned trees, used to ‘propagate” the porcino by composting macerated oak and beech leaves until the temperature reached about 24c then they dug a shallow trench outside the perimeter of the mycellium and bury the composted leaves. thi procedure was performed in mid winter; the following mid Spring they reburied the same composted leaves in place under other trees which have not produced yet.
    PS: please note that the temperature of the composted leaves MUST reach about 38 c before it drops down to 24c. happy hunting and experimenting. regards Robert Rossini.

  19. Tom
    07/12/2011

    My father and I have actually been picking and cooking Boletus rex-veris, a variant of Porcini, in Canberra for as long as I’ve been alive. They are particularly great as they grow in large groups. I have mushroomed for years, and it is amazing the number of species and variants you can find in Australia that supposedly ‘don’t grow here’. I bet there are heaps of introduced surprises waiting out there, not to mention native Australian mushrooms!

  20. karen long
    06/05/2012

    We have been eating them for years here in theAdelaide hills. would never sell them

  21. Amanda
    06/05/2012

    Karen – that comment is guaranteed to raise envious passions and undying curiosity!

  22. Richard
    05/06/2012

    If anyone is interested in getting some mycelium or spores to me instead of throwing it away ( my mouth is watering already) so I can try and attach them to Oaks etc can you email me?

  23. Tania
    13/06/2012

    Where abouts in the Adelaide hills can I go looking for porcini mushrooms? Please email me with details. Thankyou

  24. bob
    27/07/2012

    i first found one about 3 years ago. yes they are out there and yes they belong to whomever finds them.

  25. simulacrum
    18/01/2013

    If you find any wild porcini. cut off the stem and leave the cap sitting on a piece of alfoil for a day before cooking with them. When you picke them up you should see a spore print left on the foil. Mix the spores with water and sprinkle under around oak trees or saplings in your area. There’s a slim chance the mycelia will become established and great mushrooms in years to come… We’ve got plenty of European trees around, might as well encourage some (delicious) symbiotic fungi take advantage of this situation.

  26. LEN PAGGI
    04/05/2014

    As a young boy I lived in Italy some 100 km north of Milan,near the Swiss border. Porcini Mushrooms grew wild profusely, mainly associated with Chestnut trees and a mountain tree called Faggio. Although it’s along time ago,I can still remember the exquisite taste they provided.

  27. Nino
    25/05/2014

    Anyone know where I can find fresh Porcini in Perth?

  28. Agnes
    31/05/2015

    Hi I’m from Melbourne and yesterday my father found 3 large mushrooms that look like porcini. Could someone contact me for some help to determine if I’m right 🙂

  29. simulacrum
    19/08/2015

    Agnes – It’s quite possible. I’ve heard of one mycologist who claims to have found some.

    The only Mushroom that might be similar is the slipperyjack. The slipperyjack has a slimey cap, and a ring around the stem. The bolete (porcini) has a sticky cap and a clean stem that bulges out in the middle. The taste of the bolete is quite strong and unmistakeable. Boletes are mycorrhizal – they form a symbiotic relationship with certain trees (which is why they’re impossible to cultivate artificially, and must be collected from the wild) – they are mainly found under pines and firs, (but also occasionally beeches, chestnuts, oaks).

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