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Did you know that Enoki mushrooms were first cultivated in the Far East as far back as 900AD? In the wild Flammulina Velutipes is a winter mushroom growing on deciduous logs. It's velvety stem gave rise to the English name of Velvet Shank. In Japan it grows on Chinese Hackberry trees aka Enoki trees. The cultivated version is much different from the wild. Delightfully attractive, like clumps of ball ended spaghetti, it is grown in the dark - to give it that ghostly white colour. Carluccio's mushroom book is packed with such information; recipes too.

Enoki Bundles is one and as simple as you could get. Take a small clump of the Enoki, trim the end, and wrap in a slice of parma ham. Dress with lime juice and olive oil, plenty of ground pepper and serve. Simple pure flavours and a delight as a tapas style dish.

A few experiments with a wine match and a cava came out tops. Not just any old supermarket cava - these are generally too rough and tasteless to bother with - but something a little more stylish, and sadly, a little more expensive.

enoki bundles
elyssia cava

Freixenet Elyssia Grand Cuvée Brut [Adagga / Snooth] is made from Chardonnay with the addition of the local varieties of Macabeo and Parellada, oh and a touch of Pinot Noir. These combine to give a decent mouthful offering of nuts, apple, pear and peach, a nicely rounded palate plus a crisp finish, a touch of residual balances too. Alcohol 12%.

Freixenet's black bottled Cordon Negro Cava is well known; it's a huge selling brand but in launching this new Grand Cuvée Elyssia (and a sister Elyssia Pinot Noir Rosé) Freixenet is aiming for "premiumisation" in creating this pair of limited edition wines. Waitrose added these to its wine list back in July at £14.99, the Gran Cuvée is currently on offer at 33% off.

elyssia cava label

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