You Can Tell It’s Autumn When…..

When it rains everyone begins to start counting the days until there should be Funghi (wild mushrooms to pick.  Unless the wind swings round to the north or it suddenly gets very hot ten days after a good downpour the woods and hills are filled with people with baskets. They are up at the crack of dawn; there is a lot of competition!

Foraging for food is still a very common practice in this part of Italy – very soon it will be chestnuts when it is dangerous driving on the roads for the number of food hunters bent over collecting the chestnuts that have fallen from the trees onto the public road and therefore available for harvesting by anyone who is brave enough to share the road with the speeding cars.

Last weekend I was lucky enough to be invited to dinner by friends who had just returned from a successful morning’s collecting.

We had raw porcini (ceps or penny bun or its Latin name is Boletus edulis) and raw ovoli (Amanita caesarea – Cesear’s  mushroom to as an antipasto.  Sorry, no image of this; it was eaten too quickly!

Followed by a fried Parasol Macrolepiota procera.

Parasol, Macrolepiota procera

The main dish was roasted potatoes with the caps of the enormous porcini cooked on top so that all the delicious flavours dripped down onto the absorbent potatoes.  The caps were studded with a shards of garlic and seasoned with salt and pepper and the magic ingredient a sprinkle of dried fennel flowers.

The cleaned mushrooms waiting to be cooked

Mostly porcini but you can see a couple of orange capped ovoli

The classic shape of Boletus edulis, Porcino

To have a sense of scale, Lidia is holding up two of the prize specimens

A wonderful meal was rounded off with roasted chestnuts!

Thank you Lidia and Giuliano

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9 thoughts on “You Can Tell It’s Autumn When…..

  1. How fantastic that your mushrooms are so predictable and also that you can pick them knowing you are safe, far too many poisonous ones here to do that unless you have an expert with you. We can collect our sweet chestnuts from the common nearby, no danger of cars knocking us down! Your last photo is amazing, the mushrooms are so huge, one would be a meal all by itself!

    • Porcini are very easy to recognise. Many of the others that are edible but not delicious are similar to poisonous ones, those are left well alone. Ovoli are a bit more difficult as all the others of the specious are deadly poisonous! It is thought that is how Claudius (of I Claudius) fame was murdered). Christina

  2. So great porcinos! You’re lucky to pick up mushrooms like these! I love to cook them: I make soup, fried with onions, if we have a lot of porcinos I dry them and then make the porcino sauce. Nice harvest!

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