Australia has a number of interesting Morel / Morchella species. Traditionally morels in Europe and the United States are regarded as premier mushrooms – the best of the best in the same culinary territory as truffles, Porcini (Boletus edulis), chants and black trumpets.
In fact some chefs suggest that morels are better than all of the above with their earthy, forest fresh, nicotiney flavour.
Our understanding is that Australia has at least three distinct morel (Morchella) species: a white pointed capped winter species that seems most common in Western Australia but also appearing in South Australia and Victoria in Winter that we are told meets the definition of Morchella rufobrunnea, the inland black morel species that occurs in Spring in Granite country that may be Morchella australiana (common from Horsham and the Grampians to the high country near Beechworth and Wangaratta confirmed by DNA as Mel-35) and a post-fire species that seems quite similar to Morchella elata (designated mel-7).
Morrie from www.morrie2.wordpress.com – an authority on edible mushrooms in Australia – has informed us that in his opinion the ‘post-fire’ morels are probably the most flavourful of the Australian morel species. This is similar to our own experience where we have personally found Morchella rufobrunnea (found in Adelaide, Perth and Cranbourne growing in freshly laid pine bark) to be very mild in flavour especially compared to the flavour explosion one experiences eating a west-coast United States morel. Drying rufobrunnia does seem to enhance the flavour in our recent experience.
More recently our friends Tim de Vos from www.australianwildmushrooms.com.au and Franca Norris from Myrtleford have been finding some amazing-looking Morchella australiana (DNA soon to confirm) inland species.
Thanks to Tim for these Morchella australiana photos (all other than the first two which are Morchella rufobrunnea).
At this stage Selbyshrooms wont be selling Morchella species simply because they do not grow in our region and we suggest that you speak to Damian Pike at Prahran market or Tim at www.australianwildmushrooms.com.au if you are interested in obtaining Morchella australiana.
And notice the mild red staining on these specimens:
Morchella Australiana thanks to Tim from www.australianwildmushrooms.com.au
And further photos from Tim Tilbury also from this season:
We will soon be sending both of these species for DNA analysis to confirm their phylogenetic position within Morchella.