By Karla Erovick

Here in the Willamette Valley we are passionate about our food and wine.  It’s no wonder with the bounty of our crops and the breadth of culinary items. This agricultural region boasts many family businesses, going back generations, bringing a sense of pride to everything produced.

This has spawned a food culture with chefs creating new culinary experiences. Our Pinot Noir has gained world renown, so it is a natural to for combine new local ingredients as food pairings. When you think of ideal pairings, mushrooms might not be the first thing to come to mind. However, we were delighted to find that Ostrom Mushrooms complemented Knudsen Vineyards Pinot Noir and Chardonnay beautifully.

Not only do wine and mushrooms have a lot in common as culinary items, they both require lots of labor and dedication to bring them to market. Both wine and mushrooms are more than the sum of their parts, capable of being transformed into something divine, as was the case with the food pairings by Chef Sarah Schafer of Irving Street Kitchen in Portland.

What made the culinary experience even more fun was that these two families, now in the second generation of their agriculture businesses, also have strong ties to each other.  The families have been linked for decades and the opportunity to enjoy these unique pairings was a special treat.

mushroom-pairing-1We enjoyed unusual use of mushrooms throughout several courses including dessert. Gravlox were served with pickled Shiitake Tartar sauce, cucumber frisee and rye crackers and was complemented by a 2014 Knudsen Vineyards Chardonnay. The wine was a delicious complement to the rich seafood.

The main course included Teres Major Beef with Portobello and Heirloom tomato salad drizzled with an Ostrom Mushroom steak sauce paired with a duo of Knudsen Vineyards Pinot Noir: 2013 and 2014. Each of the wines had a distinct flavor and style. Both of the Pinot Noirs were bold enough to complement the beef and Portobello flavors.

mushroom-pairing-2Most surprising of all was the dessert course, a ginger cheesecake and Maryhill peach mousse with an Enoki Mushroom Crumble.  It was fantastic balance of sweet and savory flavors.

While we enjoyed the artful pairings, we also enjoyed hearing stories about these two family businesses, how each individual choose to be involved after careers elsewhere, and their unique contributions.  We wish them all the best as they continue to create delicious products and seek to entice the third generation into the family business.


ostrom-famiyAbout: Knudsen Vineyards has been a winegrower in the Dundee Hills since 1971. They produce 1,200 cases of wine per year. Most of their grapes are made into Oregon sparkling wine for Argyle. To learn more about Knudsen Vineyards, to arrange a tasting, or to purchase wine, visit their website.

Ostrom Mushroom Farms is located in Olympia, Washington, and has been growing mushrooms since 1928. The current family ownership dates back to the 1980s where they embrace sustainable farming practices. They produce 151 million pounds of mushrooms per year. Learn more about Ostrom Mushrooms, recipes, and where to find their mushrooms on their website.