For the master forager, fungi, and in particular wild mushrooms, are his preserve and treasure, guarding their favourite spots with much secrecy and returning each season to a woodland or forest with near GPS accuracy. But if you think anyone with a “My First Forage” Ladybird library book can do it - a word of warning, here in the UK alone we have 4000 species that come under the term fungi and not all of them are edible! So on no account pick or eat any mushroom growing in the wild unless you can positively identify it!
Mushrooms can be broken down simply into two sub groups, wild and cultivated. The majority of wild mushrooms are at their peak in the Autumn and have exotic sounding French names such as Pied de mouton, Cepes, Chanterelles and the scarily named Trompette de la Mort (trumpets of death). My thoughts turn to a family holiday a couple of years ago in Romania. It was late August in Transylvania and en route to Dracula’s castle Girolles were in abundance at every forest road layby, picked fresh that morning and in beautiful condition at a ridiculous price of only 6 Euros per kilo!
Spring heralds the arrival of Morels, arguably one of the most treasured and best tasting mushrooms. I absolutely love Morels, their flavour is unique. St Georges mushroom is another, which as the name suggests, is available around our patron saint's day in mid April