Spring is in full bloom – and not just with flowers. It’s morel season! Every year from mid-April through early June, these wrinkly-capped mushrooms pop up across the country. While few epicurean thrills compare to foraging for your own morels, for those with less time on their hands, the local farmer’s market is often a great source for these spongy delicacies.
Morels are best served simply – either sautéed in butter or lightly breaded and fried – to preserve their unique taste. Eating morels is a luxurious indulgence on its own, but enjoy with an earthy wine to heighten the experience.
Piedmont is the mecca for truffles, but Piedmontese reds pair exquisitely with morels, too. Barolo and Barbaresco are the two most famous regions for the local nebbiolo grape, although Roero and Nebbiolo d’Alba produce wines of the same variety that are often more accessible in their youth and at a fraction of the cost. Here are two of our favorites:
The textbook wine for mushrooms? Red Burgundy – and the classic pairing holds true with morels. But, consider white Burgundy as well. Many white Burgundies are quite savory, but won’t overpower the morel’s delicate flavors.
Here are both a red and a white (respectively) to try:
Burgundy not out-there enough for you? Give Sherry a try. These Spanish wines burst with salty richness. You may even consider throwing a splash into the sauté pan. Here are two we love:
Photo by John, "JOH_0108"