The walk alone on such a beautiful day was a treat, but our two guides were experts in fungi and botany and they taught us a lot about hedgerow goodies.
I’ve always been interested in foraging and have two (now rather tatty) books on the subject: Hedgerow Cookery, by Rosamond Richardson and Food for Free, by Richard Mabey. Neither stand up to what we now expect from a cookery book, but they are very informative, nonetheless.
Actually, we learnt more about the fungi you couldn’t eat, rather than those you could, but that’s a very good lesson, in any case. ALWAYSlearn these before you are confident to eat any that you find.
Some mushrooms are edible only at certain points in their development: usually when young. This is true of the Common Puffball (Lycoperdon Perlatum). Cut this open with a knife and, if the the flesh is white, you can eat it. Do not eat it if the flesh is either yellow or black.
PLEASE NOTE: Puffballs are easily identifiable, but could be confused with Amanita (the classic red fungi with white spots) which start life looking very similar to the common puffball. The Canadian Forest Service has more information.
After the walk, we went along to the town centre where there was an exhibition of both edible and toxic fungi. There were also lots of stalls selling cheese, salami, truffles of all qualities and mushrooms of all types. I could have bought something from every single stall, but limited myself to a large chunk of Pecorino di Fossa and some Porcini.
This was such hard work that we had to have a prosecco
served with little cheese breads fatto in casa.
- Distance from Casalba: 10 minutes.
- Cost: completely free for the guided walk and for the entrance to the exhibition.
- One of the organisers of this annual event was the Associazione Micologia Naturalistica Monti Sibillini.
- Joe over at Italyville is good at mushroom identification. He has posted on Hen of the woods and Chicken of the woods.
- Anne in Oxfordshire brought this site to my attention: Wild Mushrooms Online.