top of page
  • Culinary Cam

A Royally Good Match: The King of Mushrooms + The Wine of Kings #Winophiles

Updated: Dec 16, 2022

For the last month of 2022, the French Winophiles are turning their eyes towards Champagne and pairings. Jeff of FoodWineClick! is hosting. You can read his invitation here.


LEARN THIS PROCESS! This recipe includes a process for making risotto. You can substitute any vegetables in this and I will link some other risotto versions at the bottom of this post to inspire you. BE CREATIVE...COOK FEARLESSLY!


This group has explored Champagne before and I thought it might be helpful to review: How to Read a Champagne Label. In 2015 I was Celebrating with Crustaceans, Caviar Limes, and Champagne. March of 2019 had us looking at the women of Champagne; I shared Glazed Beet & Burrata Toasts + Alice Paillard. And in August of 2018, we sought out Grower's Champagne and I posted Skip the Butterbombs and Pair Champagne with Alpine Cheeses Instead.


Though we are not holding a live Twitter chat this month, please visit the articles to read what the group is sharing. Here's the line-up...




The Wine of Kings


For this event, I initially wanted to do a high-low pairing. I had read that Champagne paired well with potato chips and fried chicken. Hmmm...I went with roasted Cornish game hens and an assortment of our favorite chips. Though we did enjoy the bubbly, the pairing left us underwhelmed.


Yeah, maybe the 'Wine of Kings' deserved more than a high-low match-up. Fine. I put another bottle on the chill. As luck would have it, Jake commented that he would pour Champagne with risotto; and, the following day, a foraging friend invited me to join her on a porcini hunt. If we were successful, I would make a risotto with the 'King of Mushrooms' and pour the 'Wine of Kings' with it. Serendipity!



Let's start with the wine. I had a bottle of NV Comtesse Gérin Grand Réserve Brut that I found locally for less than $50. This non-vintage cuvée is comprised of 50% Pinot Meunier, 30% Pinot Noir, and 20% Chardonnay. All were hand-harvested. The wine poured a rich golden hue with a healthy froth and generous bubbles. On the nose, I jotted down apples, pears, toasted bread, and orange blossoms. On the palate, the wine was full and round, but also crisp. Interestingly enough, after a bite of the risotto, the aromas were more muted, but it all went together beautifully in the mouth.


Also, Champagne is referred to as the 'wine of kings' because it was poured as part of the coronation festivities of French kings in Reims. Because the French were revered and its nobility considered the epitome of luxury, their wine of choice was also viewed as luxurious and indulgent. Still today, Champagne has become the libation of choice for special occasions and celebrations.


The King of Mushrooms


In case it wasn't clear: the 'King of Mushrooms' is the California King Bolete, also known as a porcini. And, on a soggy morning, I joined my friend, a foraging goddess, for a trek through a local forest. I have long been nervous about foraging for mushrooms; I have foraged huckleberries, miners' lettuce, and stinging nettle because those can't kill you! But I have always steered clear of fungi and only felt comfortable doing it because I was in the company of an expert. I gleaned a ton about where to look, what to look for, and what to take. I am grateful for the guidance and even more appreciative that she offered that I should text her any photos if I am unsure when I go without her. I will certainly abide by the adage: when in doubt, throw it out!




After finding a handful for gorgeous, hamburger bun-hued porcini, we called it a day and split the spoils. So, Jake was able to get his mushroom risotto to go with the Champagne. I did end up with a couple of patches of poison oak, but it was all worth it. I will definitely be going mushroom-hunting again.


Porcini Risotto


Ingredients

  • 4 cups porcini, approximately 2 cups from the caps, sliced, and 2 cups from the stem, diecd

  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil (I used the smoked olive oil from local-to-me The Quail & Olive)

  • 3 cups arborio rice

  • 8 cups liquid (I used a mixture of vegetable stock and some leftover wine)

  • 1 Tablespoon fresh herbs, finely chopped (I used parsley)

  • 4 ounces mascarpone cream

  • freshly ground pepper, to taste

  • freshly ground salt, to taste

  • Also needed: cheese for serving (I used a raw milk, semisoft cheese shaved into rosettes)


Procedure


Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Stir in the garlic and cook until aromatic, approximately 2 minutes. Stir in the caps and cook until softened; stir in the stems and cook for an additional 3 minutes.


Stir in the arborio rice and toast for 5 to 6 minutes. Then ladle by ladle, add in the stock until it's absorbed. Keep stirring. Repeat until the rice is cooked. If you need more liquid, just add more; if you don't use all of the stock, that's okay, too. Stir in the mascarpone cream and fresh herbs. Let stand for five minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon risotto into individual serving bowls and serve immediately. Let diners sprinkle cheese over the top.

#Winophiles 2022 in Review

Well, that's a wrap for my December 2022 offering. This year, the French Winophiles visited... listed by month, topic, and my post.



We'll be back next month with wines from the Rhône Valley both North and South. Jill of L'Occasion is hosting. Stay tuned for more information.

29 views3 comments
bottom of page