It was a chilly but sunny Berlin day when Camille met us at Chido’s and escorted us underground into Chido’s mushroom growing facility. Out of the chill it felt quite warm in the basement illuminated by bright bulbs with walls covered in heavy black plastic. About a year ago I heard the fascinating Chido Govera story and wanted to learn more about the mushroom growing operation named after her in Berlin. Here’s a clever and intriguing video showing what they do at the heart of their growing facility in their Berlin cellar.
Coffee grounds are collected everyday by bicycle and brought to the facility. It is mixed with an organic substrate and spores from different types of gourmet oyster mushrooms ranging in colours from pink, to yellow and white.
Walking through the various rooms we observed how the mushrooms are cultivated from incubation to harvesting. The best way I can describe it is absolutely surreal.
Their goal is to keep the operation as carbon neutral as possible while providing high quality mushrooms to gourmet restaurants and local markets. I remembered walking through a meat market in Bologna and thinking how much this resembled hooks of prosciutto hanging from the ceiling. This is much kinder, and in so many ways more delicious. One of the best things about these mushrooms is they contain loads of vitamin B12 which is a vitamin that vegans don’t normally find in their food and have to take as a supplement.
You can even buy individual kits to grow them at home or give as gift (perfect idea if you are gift-giving during the upcoming holiday season).
Thank you Camille for your wonderful tour and the tasty treats you prepared from the mushrooms! After the tour with the Berlin International Womens Club, I was eager to get back to the kitchen and create a delicious treat to share with friends.
Pink Oyster Mushroom and Mozzarella Bruschetta
F&W magazine adaptation
1000 g pink mushrooms, trimmed and sliced (you can also use a mix of other mushrooms)
2 garlic cloves, diced fine
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
¼ cup good quality olive oil, plus more for brushing
salt and freshly ground pepper from the mill
16 slices of baguette or country bread, about ½ inch thick
In a large bowl, toss the ‘shrooms with the garlic, thyme, lemon zest and olive oil. Let stand for one hour. In a wide fry pan on high heat, cook the mushrooms with salt and pepper stirring occasionally until they have released their juices (about 8 minutes).
Because our guests were not arriving at the same time I put the bread in the toaster 6 at a time, then brushed the slices with the juices from the mushroom pan. Alternatively you can brush all of the bread with some olive oil and toast in the oven until golden. You’ll have to turn the bread to toast both sides.
Spread the mushrooms on the slices of toast. Top with Daiya and serve immediately while still warm.
Note: you can contact Camille for more information about their home kits, purchasing mushrooms or their public harvesting days.