Saturday, 23 October 2010
Once again I headed off blind-folded by my long standing yet cautious Breton friend/forager extraordinaire, M. Kilda Giraudon. His protective nature over hidden mushroom patches knows no bounds and is a little unfounded as so few of you Brits can be found basket in hand, forest bound. So, if anyone observed a passive passenger in a small French car careening about the South Devon lanes chatting away happily to his 'captor' check the calendar...it was mushroom season.
Now tis the end of mushrooms. As soon as the first frost hits, that is usually the end. What a great harvest. Ceps everywhere! Ok, ok, so the majority weren't true porcini but lesser cousins...still a great haul, free and tasty. Also spotted and eaten- parasol, pied de mouton, girolles, and a good few field mushrooms. I really want to find puffballs. Not sure if there are any down this way but they are prolific in other parts of the UK.
Remember, wild mushroom picking is a healthy mix of knowledge and skill. Do not put anything into your mouth from the forest floor without possessing the former. The latter comes with years of practise. I am confident to go picking on my own, but it is difficult to spot the camouflaged little blighters. The real skill comes from M. Giraudon...he can spot a 2 centimetre girolle peeking above a bed of autumn leaves at 100 yards.
Top tip: If there are loads of fly agaric around...good chance ceps are nearby.