Paraná wild porcini mushrooms will be the basis for a special dinner.

The expectations are updated every year. April comes, May comes, and every day the biologist Mauricio Jansen goes into the field to look under the pines to see if there are any signs of ceps in the Vitmarsum area, Palmeira municipality – 80 km from Curitiba.

And the time has come again. Several mushrooms have already appeared, but sporadically, here and there. According to Janzen, the rains are still finishing touches, a little more moisture so that they finally germinate under the pine straw. And then the beginning of the porcino season will be announced in these parts. As the weatherman says it will rain next weekend…

For at least four years, I have been following the work he and his wife Audrey have been doing to monitor the fungal cycle in Witmarsum and the region (the first post I made was in May 2019, see it here). While he is working in the field, she intensifies her work in contact with cooks and chefs, whose number is increasing every year due to requests and information.

From table to plate

After these years and with regular production, Funghi Porcini is already a local product, although paradigms are yet to be broken. Despite its delicacy and high nutritional value, it is still far from the place it deserves in the gastronomy and taste of Paraná. This is a structural problem, because in our culture it is not customary to go to the forest for mushrooms, as our ancestors did. So, how can one imagine building a production chain based on the collection and rational use of this raw material?

White mushrooms are born among the straw of pine trees and spread throughout the Witmarsum region.
White mushrooms are born among the straw of pine trees and spread throughout the Witmarsum region. | Photo: Audrey Janzen

This complex context brought together the couples Mauricio and Audrey Jansen, as well as Massimiliano Morabito and Sibele Michelon. And this is, literally, the union of two worlds. Morabito is an Italian chef born in Rome, and he shares with his wife the entire cultural heritage of the Italian porcini mushroom chain, from harvesting to the most varied preparations.

He says that as a child he woke up at dawn, on cold days, to go with his father for mushrooms in the forests on the outskirts of Rome. There is no shortage of stories about all sorts of mushroom recipes his parents made with local ingredients, which he says: it was a party, especially on Sundays when there was no school, and he would wake up with the smell of mushrooms. and fresh pasta.

An experience like this in Morabito, passed down from father to son, caught the attention of the Janzens, who have served the chef since the first mushroom harvests and shipments began in Curitiba 5 years ago. These experience reports filled in gaps in the field studies designed by Mauricio, such as the relationship between productivity and how the mushroom was used depending on its size and stage of ripening, which, in the hands of Massimiliano, were transformed into sauces, salads, preserves, various dishes and even desserts.

Time allowed ideas to mature and take shape, and it was in this relationship of exchange and friendship that the project was born. Fungarolia term used specifically for mushroom pickers in Italy, such as Morabito’s father, for example.

Chef Massimiliano Morabito and biologist Mauricio Jansen prepare an eleven-course dinner with mushroom dishes together in early June.
Chef Massimiliano Morabito and biologist Mauricio Jansen prepare an eleven-course dinner with mushroom dishes together in early June. | Photo: Audrey Janzen

Porcini Festival

This project was born to stimulate the development of the value chain for Funghi Porcini Paranaense, initially addressing mushroom supply and demand issues by integrating scientific knowledge with culinary practice. The project will host a range of gastronomic and rural events promoted by the group Fungaroliconsisting of two pairs.

The first gastronomic event to celebrate the start of the harvest will take place at the Osteria Capitolina in Curitiba, an event that will mark the real “Sagra dei Porcini” (Portchini festival, in Italian) and is scheduled for June 9th.

A wide variety of cooking methods will be presented on site, with an abundance of Funghi Porcini as the protagonist, in which case the group will bring their different experiences embodied in these preparations. Nothing less than a real celebration of aromas and tastes that will go down in history is expected. Literally the path from the ground to the table.

The full menu will consist of 11 steps and was completed this weekend. See how it turned out.

one- Coated (artisan bread, porcini mushroom pâté and butter and panzanella with porcini mushrooms).

2- Porcini mushrooms in a salad with cherry tomatoes confit (organic mixed leaves with tender slices of oak porcini mushrooms seasoned with citrus sauce and Sicilian lemon pearls and balsamic vinegar) – if it is not possible to collect fresh porcini mushrooms on the day of the event, this dish will be replaced.

3- Basket with porcini mushrooms and brie (vol au vent with brie filling, grilled with porcini mushrooms).

4 – Sous-vide scallops with porcini mushrooms (vacuum-cooked scallops served on a bed of leeks with fried porcini mushrooms).

5 – Shrimps stuffed with porcini mushrooms on eggplant-mint cream (Pistol shrimp stuffed with porcini mushrooms with eggplant and mint mousse).

6- Parmesan flan with porcini mushrooms and traditional 15-year-old balsamic vinegar (Parmesan soufflé with porcini mushroom cream and balsamic drops aged 15 years).

7- Tagliolini with Angolan chicken ragout and porcini mushrooms (homemade pasta with porcini mushrooms, with guinea fowl and stew with porcini mushrooms).

eight – Ravioli del plin stuffed with porcini mushrooms, cheese fondue and roasted almonds (Pasta stuffed with porcini mushrooms, with cream cheese sauce and roasted almonds).

Sgroppino (Venetian drink made with lemon ice cream and vodka clears the palate for continued tasting)

nine – Grilled Mushrooms with Creamy White Polenta (grilled porcini mushrooms, served with creamy white polenta).

10 – Cinghiale brasato con porcini (boar stew with porcini mushrooms, served with potato scales).

11 – Dessert – English cream with porcini mushrooms (English cream with porcini mushrooms).

The tasting menu will cost R$495 per person (drinks not included), and to book this unique experience, you need to make a reservation. It is worth emphasizing that the number of participants will be very limited to guarantee an excellent service.

White mushrooms
Audrey and Mauricio Jansen with mushrooms. It’s five years of research and dedication. | Photo: Disclosure

just need to harvest

Some white mushrooms have already been found in the Witmarsum area, on other properties that have not been influenced by Janzen’s research and work. In fact, the couple is ready to be ready to guide anyone who doubts this. To consult on the possibility of producing Porcini at any site, one can contact them to schedule a technical visit.

There will be analyzed issues such as quantification, production perspective, multiplication capability, inoculation, crop study and of course processing and trade.

By the way, even if the expected start of production is still predicted for the coming days, it is already possible to order mushrooms in direct contact with Audrey Janzen, who is in charge of this part.

So, let’s move on to the contact channels.

Reservations for the gastronomic event Osteria Capitolina: tel. (41) 3079-8545.

For information on fresh porcini mushrooms and possible bookings, please contact Audrey Janzen directly at (41) 99934-2083.

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