Mushroom mania hits Pune

It’s raining mushrooms at Alto Vino this season. From salads to pastas and risottos, there are a large number of delicious mushroom dishes that one can dig into at the Mushroom Festival here. We start with a scrumptious Mixed Mushroom Salad which has fresh goat cheese, lettuce and asparagus. The sautéed mushrooms and the goat cheese make a hit pair, and the crispy lettuce leaves soaked in vinegar add to the culinary delight.

The Marinated Mushroom Salad included fresh goat cheese, lettuce and asparagus

“In India, there is not much awareness about mushrooms. When people do eat mushrooms here, it’s almost always only the button mushrooms,” says Chef Christain Huber, Chef de cuisine, Alto Vino, as he starts talking to us about the various varieties of delectable mushrooms and their distinct flavours and textures.

Risotto with Portabello and Thyme pesto. Pics / Roopesh Raveendran

A large variety
“We have a range of mushrooms you can try here in any form, salads, risottos, soups and more. It really is a chance to explore,” he adds, and we agree with him while sipping on a delicious Mushroom Cappuccino soup that has been made from freshly grounded Porcinni mushrooms. The flavour is strong and lingers on as we move to the main course, the Risotto with Portabello and Thyme Pesto. The smooth and creamy texture with the smooth flavour of the portabello mushrooms is rather addictive. We thought that the tempting preparation was a tad large in quantity and we would share it, but once we started, we lapped up the full thing to the last grain of rice.

How to prepare it?
With 80% water content and high levels of fiber, mushrooms are a great option for the health conscious lot. But to enjoy the right flavour of these delicate delicacies, one needs to keep a few things in mind while preparing any mushroom dish. “You need a hot pan to sauté the mushrooms and you must not crowd it with too much or else the mushrooms will let out their water and boil leaving no flavour left. The mushrooms need to be roasted on high heat to preserve its flavour,” informs Chef Huber.

The special menu for the mushroom festival also includes fresh surprises for non-vegetarians. The Lamb Ravioli, stuffed with braised lamb is served with grilled mushrooms and butter sauce. The menu also offers roasted chicken, special imported beef, oysters, sea bass and other innovative preparations complimented with mushrooms. After tasting many of their dishes, we gave this mushroom festival a thumbs up for its amazing food.

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