It’s clear that autumn is here as the air starts to cool and fresh breezes accompany the mushroom blooming season. This season, Lai Heen at The Ritz-Carlton, Macau has a Autumn Mushroom Tasting Menu made up of 8 courses, each featuring a unique wild mushroom, hand-selected by the chef, that complements a range of luxurious Cantonese ingredients. Wild mushrooms in the menu includes Blaze Mushroom, Cantharellus Mushroom, Morel Mushroom, Matsutake Mushroom and Catathelasma Mushroom, delivered twice weekly from its origin to Macau.
Blaze Mushrooms have tender caps and when dried, are excellent for imparting flavour in soups. Lai Heen has used blaze mushrooms in a nutritious and warming Double-boiled Fish Maw Soup with Conpoy with Blaze Mushroom, followed by pairing light and fruity Cantharellus Mushroom, famed for its high nutritional value in amino acids and vitamins, with sautéed Hokkaido scallops and lily bulbs. Iberico Pork and Swiss Black Garlic Fried Rice is upgraded texturally by the addition of Catathelasma Mushrooms. Catathelasma Mushrooms are large and firm with subtle flavours, which pair ideally with the pork and black garlic.
Standout dishes on the menu are the fresh and flavourful Simmered Garoupa Fillet with Morel Mushroom in Fish Broth and the precious showcase of Sautéed M9 Wagyu Beef with Japanese Pepper and Matsutake Mushroom. Morel Mushrooms are highly prized by gourmet chefs, especially in France, as their hollow honeycomb-like caps are full of flavor.
Fresh morels are best in autumn, while the dried caps still retain their meaty texture and earthy aroma to be cooked with fresh caught garoupa and rejuvenated in fish broth for the ultimate umami dish. Another highly valuable fungi used on this menu are Japanese matsutake mushrooms. Fresh matsutakes are delicate with a cinnamon and pine aroma, and a firm, chewy texture to help it stand out in a dish. They come to fruition in the autumn, and are hand-picked by the chef to serve alongside M9 Wagyu beef which highlights precious ingredients and Asiatic flavours.