Nestled in the woodland community of Ookimachi in the Fukuoka region, lies a fungi treasure known as the crown jewel. This unique mushroom, otherwise known as the Hakata Sugitake, is globally hailed as the “Best Mushroom” and “The Most Rare Premium Mushroom.” Now, let’s dive into the story of Hakata Sugitake and the dedicated cultivators at Dream Mush who bring this exceptional delicacy to life.
A Glimpse into the Roots
So, what exactly is Hakata Sugitake? The name “Hakata” indicates the mushroom’s origin in the Hakata region, while “Sugitake” translates to cedar mushroom. Historically, the Hakata Sugitake was discovered in mountainous regions by mushroom foragers. Due to its scarcity, the founders of Dream Mush decided to cultivate this rare mushroom in their very own mushroom farm. Before venturing into the mushroom cultivation scene, drawing from a lineage deeply involved in agriculture, the founders of Dream Mush were highly intrigued by the rich history of Ookimachi’s emphasis on mushroom production.
In addition to being captivated by Ookimachi’s history of mushroom production, Dream Mush embarked on their venture into mushroom cultivation out of a sense of duty to contribute to the society, a core value within Japanese culture. As Dream Mush hailed from an agricultural background, their commitment to upholding this legacy led them to expand their expertise to include rooted fungi.
Conquering Challenges: The Hakata Sugitake Way
The Hakata Sugitake has an exceedingly short shelf life, lasting a maximum of about 5 days post-harvest. In order to overcome this limitation, Dream Mush adopted a technique that helps their Hakata Sugitake last longer and that technique is known as the IQF technique. This method, known as Individual Quick Frozen, involves freezing the fresh produce in small portions without compromising on quality and freshness. Notably, this technique eliminates the need to thaw the ingredient before cooking, thus reducing freezing time. This groundbreaking method not only extends the shelf life to one year when frozen but also allows for overseas export, preserving the original quality that defines Hakata Sugitake.
The Crown Jewel
The allure of Hakata Sugitake extends beyond its title, with its cap resembling a regal crown adorned with white spikes. Despite its royal appearance, the general public tends to shy away from using it in their cooking, leading high-end restaurants in Japan to predominantly feature this gem. The Hakata Sugitake, requiring a unique cooking approach compared to its common counterparts, is praised for its aroma akin to truffles and porcini mushrooms.
Umami Depth: Hakata Sugitake boasts an earthy flavor that captures the essence of its natural surroundings, leaving a lingering, natural touch on the menu.
Distinctive Texture: When cooked, Hakata Sugitake exhibits a unique combination of slight sliminess and a crunchy mouthfeel. Its firm yet tender consistency allows it to withstand various cooking methods, including sautéing, braising, and broiling, ensuring that the mushroom retains its distinctive character in every bite.
Aromatic Delight: Once cooked, Hakata Sugitake fills the room with a delightful blend of earthy aromas that captures the senses and lingers, ensuring every person in the room is captivated by its aromatic delight.
In essence, the Hakata Sugitake stands as a culinary gem, captivating the senses with its rich earthiness, distinctive texture, and aromatic excellence. Whether it graces Japanese, Chinese, Western, or fusion cuisine, Hakata Sugitake adds a touch of luxury to every dish. From the fertile soils of Ookimachi to kitchens worldwide, Hakata Sugitake symbolizes excellence in the agricultural industry. With a commitment to quality, a deep-rooted legacy, and an unwavering spirit of innovation, Hakata Sugitake continues to thrive, enchanting the world of mushrooms.