Which brings me to last week. An early rising. The light frost is clearing. Off I go in search of Steinpilze or Porcini, or Cep, or Penny-bun, call them what you will, but they are one of the great finds for a fungal feast. I was first introduced to them by my German father in the European Alps so they will always be Steinpilze to me.
Another European was wandering slowly under the trees kicking over little piles of leaves, which might be tenting over an emerging mushroom, but I saw only one tiny specimen in his hand. It was clearly not the day for it. I gave up the chase and wheeled my bike away, stopping only to stoop and remove leaves caught in the spokes. And to stare. And rub my incredulous eyes. They were picture perfect, right there. The loveliest I’d seen.
It seemed such a shame, but foragers, like farmers, must have steely nerves and put sentiment aside if they want to feed the family. Into the cloth bag they went and my heart sang with the triumph of the hunter-gatherer. How Dad would have quietly thought “Ja gut. Sehr gut.”
Mission accomplished it’s time to pedal home. Swinging bag meets scything spokes and through the arch the treasures go.
Oh No! … No! … No!
Ah, what a falling off was there?
Desecration! Such despair!
But back in kitchen, nothing’s lost
And precut mush in pan is tossed.
So yes, do seek and ye shall find
A mushroom cutter, new designed.
Enough nonsense. Here are the pictures of this year’s favourites: