WHAT? Matsutake mushrooms – also known as mattake- are a species of mushrooms that grow along the roots of red pine trees and are considered Japan’s answer to the culinary world’s love of truffles. These plump, heavy mushrooms give off a fruity and spicy aroma, with a heady note of cinnamon, all tied together by a pinelike earthiness that spreads through the palate. These mushrooms are also symbolic in Japan with the changing of the seasons from Summer into Fall, and are therefore a gastronomical must-have once the leaves start turning brown. WHY? As with its cousin, the truffle, the Matsutake mushroom has also been facing a supply shortage, with the quantity of mushrooms declining sharply throughout the recent years. This decline, complemented with a hike in demand, works to push the mushroom to a near legendary status, with thousands talking about the delicacy, whilst few have tried it. If you’re in the mood to try one of these delicious fungi, make sure that you try the ones from the Tamba region outside of Kyoto. Those are considered the best and most expensive Matsutake of the family, so if youre going to give them a go anyway, why not aim for the best? WHERE? The mushrooms are commonly found in North America, in places such as California as well as the Pacific Northwest, and are also known to grow in Korea, China, Japan, and Northern Europe in countries such as Sweden and Finland. Due to the varying climates and terrains found in these myriad of countries, the Matsutake mushroom differs slightly compared to the original in Japan. For example, in the USA, the variant of Matsutake grown there is known as the white Matsutake due to the lack of brown colouration found in the species. HOW MUCH? Due to the mushrooms never growing in the same place and sprouting wildly across the terrain, the price of the mushroom can be vastly different, depending on quantity available. Should there be a surplus of mushroom found in the United States as well as across Asia, then the mushroom could possibly be sold for as little as USD 3 for a kilo. If supply is scarce or one opts for the Japanese Matsutake, it could reach to around USD 2,000 a kilo. A big deal breaker when it comes to the mushroom is if the cap of the fungi is open, the Matsutake can lose a third of its value in sales, so handlers always opt for the younger mushrooms.