Friday, 19 October 2012

Wild mushroom hunt / Chasse aux cèpes

Though I still think of myself as a city gal, I am growing to love the countryside more and more, especially as living right in the town centre (all be it a relatively small town) seems to equal being woken up by idiots on motorbikes driving past at 4am and never being able to park outside the house when I've got all the food shopping in the boot. 

Besides the peace and quiet, there are many other things I am learning to appreciate about the French countryside. Wild mushrooms is one of them. 

Mushrooms seem to be one of those foods that people either love or hate. No-one just 'doesn't mind' mushrooms. Cheri hates them. I love them. However, Cheri does love going hunting for them in the woods. I think it's his hunter-gatherer instincts coming through. However, I also like to think of myself as a curious Lara Croft style adventurer(minus Angelina Jolie's body the crop top of course), so when our countryside-residing friend invited us to accompany him on a chasse aux cèpes, I put on my wellies and grabbed my plastic bag.

However, we were not the only ones on the prowl for wild mushrooms. My friend explained that these delicious and ridiculously expensive fungi can be found more or less abundently depending on weather conditions, and also the position of the moon. Apparently today was an excellent wild mushroom gathering day, will all conditions reunited. Apparently we weren't the only ones to know this.  

Thus, the hunt required a keen eye, a certain discretion and a good amount of bluffing. After spotting several of the little beauties just next to another elderly couple of mushroom hunters, Cheri craftily incited them to move on: Il n'y a rien ici, quelle dommage! At 15 euros the kilo, one can't afford to play Mr Fun Guy. 

One hour and two plastic bags full later, the mission was a success. I'm planning on freezing half of the mushrooms to make chicken and mushroom pie or a wild mushroom risotto. The other half are going in tonight's dinner, lovingly cooked with garlic, fresh parsley and olive oil to make a perfect winter omelette filling.  

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