The dogs alerted me today to a man walking up our field towards the wood. He said he was going to look for ‘funghi’ – the catch-all Italian word which also covers mushrooms bought in the supermarket (the only sort which we approve of in this family).

The dogs alerted me again when he came back down. He was carrying a basket and a polythene bag full of ‘funghi’.

A basket of ‘funghi’

I asked him what he called the coral-like one and he said something like ‘menini’, apologising that he didn’t know the scientific name (which would have meant nothing to me).

The big brown-capped one is a ‘porcino’  (‘penny bun’ in English) – very much prized.

He suddenly remembered a place close to the house where a specific kind of fungus used to grow and dashed off to look, grumbling over his shoulder that we’d built a track there.

He found 3 specimens – huge flat white things – growing right in the middle of the track and held one out for me to smell. It smelt like blue cheese. Apparently one pops them under the grill and they’re delicious. Clive would not be impressed.

I was pleased the spot was still producing, though. So much for keeping Mother Nature down!

  1. October 10, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    I may be a master gardener by schooling, but I don’t know enough about mushrooms to go looking for specimens in the woods. My hat is off to those who have knowledge and experience enough to do it successfully and safely.

    • Damaris
      October 11, 2012 at 11:28 am

      This man said he’d been coming to the same spot every year for 40 years – that’s some experience!

      Our electrician was there yesterday when I was talking and photographing the contents of the basket; he’s a fungus-gatherer himself and he said he never even picked up a fungus unless he was positive beyond any shadow of a doubt as to what it was. I would guess that one way in which people get poisoned (and there are deaths here all the time from it, I understand) is when they collect unknown fungi in a basket along with others and forget to check them out.

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