Mushrooms are often described as having a savoury, umami flavour. Some even describe the flavour as earthy, meaty or slightly woodsy. These kinds of flavours generally make me lean toward red wines or a rich Chardonnay to pair it with. Yet, SAMFA, the South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association and SA Bubbly say you can pair mushrooms with Cap Classique and they are so certain about it, that they even offered me a couple of recipes to share with you.
As a starter, why not try some Cranberry & Brie Mushroom Bites? Or, go for a delicious Portabello & Lemony Ricotta Puff Pastry Tart. Alternatively, opt for a Mushroom Ragu Pappardelle. Is your mouth watering yet? Well, here are the recipes, as well as suggestions on which Cap Classiques to pair them with:
Cranberry & Brie Mushroom Bites
18 portabellini mushrooms
1 wedge/wheel of Brie
1 tbsp fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
Fresh dill for serving
For the cranberry sauce
350g frozen cranberries
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
Zest of one orange
Preheat oven to 180˚C.
In a saucepan, combine the frozen cranberries, sugar, orange zest and water. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking for another 15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and sticks to the back of a spoon.
Remove the stems from the mushrooms. Place a rack on a baking sheet and spread out the mushrooms. Season the mushrooms’ cavities with salt and pepper. Spoon a little cranberry sauce into each mushroom. Cut small chunks of brie and place on top of the sauce. Bake for 5 to10 minutes or until the mushrooms are cooked and cheese has melted.
Once cooked, scatter each mushroom bite with fresh dill and serve straight away.
Pair this recipe with: Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Brut MCC
This Cap Classique’s creamy mousse and heady aromas play perfectly with these sweet and savoury bites. The bubbly’s nuttiness merges seamlessly with the Brie cheese’s own nut-like flavour, while its acidity and rich texture bridge the gap between the tart cranberry sauce and the rich and creamy melted Brie. It is the ideal elegant Cap Classique for an elegant canapé.
Portabello & Lemony Ricotta Puff Pastry Tart
1 sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry
250g smooth ricotta cheese
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 handful fresh oregano leaves, chopped
6 large portabello mushrooms
Salt & pepper
Baby greens or rocket for serving
Place the sheet of puff pastry on a tray lined with baking paper and score a border 2cm in from the edge all the way round. Prick the pastry centre using a fork. Leave to rest in the fridge for about an hour. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220˚C with an empty baking sheet in it to heat up.
When the oven reaches temperature, carefully lift up the puff pastry using the baking paper and place it onto the hot tray. Blind bake the puff pastry sheet until golden brown all over. This should take about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Press down the centre of the pastry so you are left with a puffy border.
Whisk the ricotta, lemon zest, lemon juice and oregano together. Season well with salt and pepper.
Spread the mixture into the centre of the tart. Top with portabello mushrooms and season them well. Toss the baby greens in a little olive oil and lemon juice and scatter them over the tart before serving.
Pair this recipe with: Krone RD MCC
RD stands for Recently Disgorged. Krone RD spends many years maturing on the lees, which allows exceptional richness and complexity to develop. The wine is intense and stands up to any robust meal. The lemon in the ricotta plays beautifully with the notes of honey on the palate. Notes of caramel can be experienced on the nose and on the palate which work ever so well with sweet and savoury pairings. The intense umami of the mushrooms is complemented by the bright acidity of the wine and keeps you wanting more of both.
Mushroom Ragu Pappardelle
1kg mixed mushrooms
1 large white onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, finely diced
⅓ cup tomato paste
250ml dry white wine
1 x 400g tin crushed tomatoes
1 tsp chili flakes
Salt and pepper
500g pappardelle pasta
½ cup grated Parmesan & extra for serving
Using a food processor, blitz two thirds of the mushrooms until they are very finely chopped.
In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook down until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant. Add the tomato paste and cook until caramelised. Add in the mushrooms and cook for at least 30 minutes. They will lose a lot of volume and moisture. Cook until all the water has evaporated and they begin to take on some colour. Deglaze with the white wine and season with salt, pepper and chili flakes.
Add the crushed tomatoes and simmer. Finish with the cream.
For the pappardelle pasta, cook until al dente according to packet instructions. Reserve 2 cups of pasta water. Drain pasta and then dot with knobs of butter. Sprinkle with Parmesan and using the pasta water to create a silky sauce consistency, mix everything together.
Slice and sear the remaining mushrooms in a little olive oil until golden brown. Season.
Just before serving combine the mushroom ragu, pappardelle and seared mushrooms. Garnish with fresh basil and some extra Parmesan.
Pair this recipe with: Pierre Jourdan Brut MCC
The Pierre Jourdan’s bright and concentrated citrus and apple flavours serve to make the rich ragu and salty parmesan feel lighter in your mouth. Additionally, its minerality stands up to this very savoury and intensely flavoured dish. This wine has the acidity to break up the richness of the pasta and has the ripeness to compete with the very umami mushrooms. A perfect match for a rich dish this bubbly livens up the ragu and can transform it into a perfect summer pasta.