Matsutake is a kind of mushroom that grow on roots of red pines and other trees in and outside Japan. They have a strong smell, which the Japanese at least think stimulates the appetite. They typically measure 10 to 20 cm in length. In Japan, the picking season runs between September and October. They are harvested when the cap is not yet completely open, because the aroma fades away if it is open.
The matsutake mushroom of Japan, or mattake, is extremely rare. We all know how this works-something is rare, therefore it is expensive, the old ‘supply and demand’ strategy for marketing. Historically the matsutake mushroom is synonymous with autumn in Japan. The decline of trees that shelter the sumptuous mushrooms has in turn led to a decline in the matsutake mushroom, as symbiotic relationships go. So the price per kilogram of this glorified fungus is a staggering $4500.
Nowadays cheaper and affordable matsautake imported from Korea and China are also sold at supermarkets.